Mallory Cuccio recorded seven saves in 2-1 victory over No. 11 Louisville, Sunday.
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team extended its win streak to five with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals, Sunday at Liberty Field Hockey Field. For the second time this season, the Lady Flames knocked off a Top 20 ACC opponent. With the victory, Liberty runs its record to 6-4 on the season while the Cardinals fall to 8-2. The Lady Flames' win was not secure until the very last play of the afternoon, when Mallory Cuccio denied a penalty stroke attempt by Louisville's Mallory Mason to keep the final score at 2-1. The Lady Flames wasted no time to score, netting a goal on their first shot of the contest. Ashlee Krulock found the back of the net in the third minute, for her fourth goal of the season. Cassidy Bremner set up the goal with a pass directly to the middle of the circle where Krulock was waiting in front of the net to tip the ball into the right side. Louisville responded with a quick goal of its own in the seventh minute when Alyssa Voelmle connected on her seventh goal of the season following the team's third penalty corner. For the second straight game, Hannah Goldsborough provided a spark off the bench, notching her second goal of the season in the 20th minute to reclaim the 2-1 Liberty lead. Sarah Gipe assisted the goal with a pass up the middle, leading to a one on one between Goldsborough and Louisville goalie Sydney King. Goldsborough beat King to the right side of the net, for her second goal in as many games. The score remained 2-1 with both teams having chances to add to their total. In the 52nd minute, Louisville had the golden opportunity to tie the game, until Liberty's junior defender Hannah Jones jumped in front of the net for the defensive save. Junior Cuccio needed just three saves to tie her personal record of 43 in a single season. Cuccio denied three shots in the first half, helping keep the Cardinals' potent offense to a minimum. Cuccio recorded her personal-record 44th save of the year in the 39th minute of the game. The junior goalie then stepped up in a big way in the closing minutes of the game denying two more goals, including the previously mentioned potential game-tying penalty stroke. In the closing seconds of the game, Louisville was granted an attacking penalty corner. The Cardinals inserted the ball to Voelmle with zero seconds on the clock. Voelmle reared back for a shot that was blocked in front of the goal. However, Louisville was granted a penalty stroke that could have potentially sent the contest into overtime. Mason was set to take the shot, with Cuccio the only obstacle in her way. Mason delivered the shot to the right side of the goal and Cuccio guessed it correctly, diving to her left and knocking the ball away for a game-winning padded save. Cuccio ended the game with seven total saves, advancing her season best to 47. The Lady Flames were outshot 18-5, including a 9-5 Cardinals advantage in shots on goal. However, it was the team's defensive effort that held the Cardinals' offense to just one goal, after Louisville entered the contest averaging four goals per game on the year. Liberty returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Longwood at 3 p.m. at Liberty Field Hockey Field. The Lady Flames will cap off their homestand five days later, hosting conference foe Appalachian State for an Oct. 5 contest starting at 2 p.m.