The Lady Flames field hockey team will open its 2014 campaign against the Pacific Tigers on Friday at Varsity Field Hockey Turf at Stanford. The match up will be the first contest of the season for both teams and is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EST. Liberty will then play the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday at 3 p.m. EST. The contest will be a rematch of last year's NorPac Tournament Championship, in which the Lady Flames captured their first NorPac title by a score of 2-1.
How to Follow the Flames Live stats will be available for both contests by clicking the appropriate link on the field hockey schedule/results panel of LibertyFlames.com. The live stats will be provided by the Pacific Media Relations office on Friday, and by Stanford on Sunday.
A Glance at Liberty The Lady Flames will look to build on successes of the past two seasons, aiming to make it to the NorPac Championship game for the third year in a row. Liberty returns several key players from last year's NorPac Championship squad, including the team's top three point leaders in Natalie Barr, Serena Barr and Ashlee Krulock. In addition, Mallory Cuccio is expected to be the starter in goal for the 2014 season. The junior played three games last season, posting a 1-0 on the season, and finished the 2012 season ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in goals against average. Liberty's strength and stability will come from its upperclassmen this year, as six of 25 team members are seniors.
A Glance at Pacific The Tigers return 17 players from the previous season including co-captain Erica Gordon and sophomore points leader, Nicole Laskosky. The Tigers will have a different look this season as they welcome nine newcomers, including six international players. Pacific is 0-1 all-time against the Lady Flames.
A Glance at the Cardinal Stanford returns eight of 11 starters from 2013, including NorPac West Player of the Year Kelsey Harbin. The Cardinal come into the season ranked No. 12 in the nation according to the 2014 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll. Stanford will seek its sixth straight NorPac West regular-season title and ninth consecutive trip to the NorPac championship. Stanford is 1-1 all-time against the Lady Flames.
Flames News and Notes Lady Flames are 1-0 all-time against the Pacific Tigers, defeating the Tigers 2-1 in the first round of the 2012 NorPac Tournament. The Lady Flames are 1-1 all-time against the Stanford Cardinal, with both contests coming in the NorPac Tournament title game. In the most recent matchup, Liberty captured the NorPac crown by a score of 2-1 in last year's championship game. This marks the first time in team history that the Lady Flames will play Pacific and Stanford during the regular season. For the 2014 season, the Tigers will compete in the NorPac East division. Liberty will face its toughest schedule in team history, playing seven of the top 20 teams in the nation and five ACC opponents.
A Look Ahead The Lady Flames will welcome the VCU Rams for their home opener, Sep. 5. The contest is slated for a 4 p.m. at the Liberty Field Hockey Field. Liberty will also host preseason No. 9 Old Dominion on Sep. 7 at 1 p.m.
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