Sarah Gipe netted her team leading 13th goal in Friday's 3-2 loss at No. 6 Virginia.
For the second contest in six days, the Liberty field hockey squad saw their hopes of an upset flash before their eyes. The Lady Flames dropped their second consecutive 3-2 nail-biter, this time at the hands of the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers in overtime at Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.
Friday's competition could not be decided in regulation, forcing Liberty to compete in its first overtime game of the season and just the fourth in program history. Heading into Friday's contest, the Lady Flames held a 2-1 record in overtime games, a record that would eventually change to 2-2 by the final buzzer.
Liberty jumped on the board first in the 24th minute with junior forward Sarah Gipe netting her 13th goal of the season. Gipe's goal was a picture-perfect goal, spinning around a defender and setting herself up for the game's first goal. Gipe shot the ball with force, placing the shot between Jenny Johnstone's legs for the 1-0 lead. With the goal, Gipe tied her single-season record of goals scored with 13, and ran her points total up to 30, surpassing her previous personal record of 28 set back in 2012.
The score remained the same until the 45th minute when the Lady Flames' Bethany Barr tacked onto the Liberty lead. The Lady Flames were granted a penalty corner, capitalizing on the opportunity. Barr received the ball from Ashlee Krulock, and flung a shot on net. Barr's shot was knocked down before it could reach the goal, but the rebound took a friendly roll back into Barr's possession. The sophomore midfielder sent a reverse shot high towards the net, sailing past the outstretched arms of Johnstone for the 2-0 lead.
With nine minutes to play all seemed to be going well for the Lady Flames, with Virginia's backs against the wall, and then the sixth-ranked Cavaliers began to chip away.
Virginia's Tara Vittese sparked the surge that the Cavaliers needed, netting her 14th goal of the season with 8:59 left to play.
Despite giving up one goal, the Lady Flames were able to hold off the Cavaliers' attack for just a little while longer until Virginia was granted an attacking penalty corner with 1:35 remaining on the clock.
The Cavaliers' Lucy Hyams took the ball off the penalty corner and dribbled through to the left side, sending a reverse shot between the legs of junior goalie Mallory Cuccio and tying the game at two apiece.
The score remained knotted at two for the remainder of regulation, with a winner having to be decided in overtime.
Virginia, having scored two unanswered goals, carried the momentum into the extra period but it was the Lady Flames who applied the early pressure.
Having fought off the pressure, the Cavaliers sent a counterattack towards the Liberty defense, forcing a penalty stroke in the fifth minute of overtime. Vittese stepped up to take the shot, with Cuccio standing in her way. Vittese sent the shot to the bottom left corner, lifting Virginia over the Lady Flames by a score of 3-2.
Despite the loss, Liberty outshot Virginia 16-15, including a 3-2 advantage in the overtime period.
With the loss, the Lady Flames drop to 9-6 on the season and the Cavaliers improve to 12-4.
Liberty returns to action Sunday, facing No. 1 North Carolina at Liberty Field Hockey Field. The contest is slated to begin at 2 p.m. and is going to be aired on ESPN3. The Lady Flames are 2-2 against Top 20 ACC opponents on the season following Friday's loss. Sunday's contest begins Liberty's final three games of the regular season, with all contests being played at the confines of Liberty Field Hockey Field.