For the third consecutive year, the Liberty Lady Flames field hockey squad clinched the NorPac East Division title, following their 5-1 victory over NorPac foe Pacific. Liberty clinched the No. 1 seed in front of a raucous crowd on Thursday at Liberty Field Hockey Field.
The Lady Flames improve to 10-7 with a perfect 4-0 record in NorPac competition. Liberty has now won 18 regular season NorPac competitions in a row. With the loss, Pacific falls to 5-10, 1-2 NorPac.
Senior midfielder Helen Doolittle led the way with two goals, recording her second career multi-goal game. Doolittle also accomplished the feat during the program's first win back on Sept. 10, 2011 in a 3-0 victory over Marywood.
Doolittle notched the game's first goal in the eighth minute of competition off an assist from Sarah Gipe. Doolittle received the ball in front of the net, redirecting the pass into the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season.
Four minutes later, Ashlee Krulock netted her ninth goal of the season off the pass from Serena Barr, to extend the Lady Flames' lead to 2-0. With Krulock's ninth goal, the junior forward is two goals away from breaking her personal single-season record of goals set in 2013 with 10.
The score remained the same until the 38th minute when Gipe broke her personal single-season record of goals, netting her career-best 14th goal of the 2014 campaign. Teammate Erin Dombach dribbled the ball into the circle, weaving through the defense. Dombach sent a pass in front of the net where Gipe redirected the ball into the goal for the 3-0 lead.
Liberty tacked on its fourth goal in the 44th minute when Natalie Barr notched her third goal of the season. Off a rebounded shot from Krulock, Barr knocked the ball out of the air for the 4-0 lead.
Pacific edged one goal closer in the 63rd minute when Nicole Laskosky netted her ninth goal of the season, but to no avail.
During the 66th minute, Doolittle notched her second goal of the game. She received the pass from Serena Barr following the Lady Flames' 10th penalty corner of the contest. Doolittle capitalized on the shot, sending the ball into the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season and wrapping up the 5-1 triumph.
With the win, Mallory Cuccio picks up her 10th victory on the season between the pipes for Liberty, equaling her single-season high for wins, set back in 2012. Cuccio recorded four more saves today, bringing her season saves total to 72.
The Lady Flames outshot the visiting Tigers 20-7, including a 14-5 advantage in shots on goal. Liberty also held the advantage in forcing attacking penalty corners with 10 compared to Pacific's three.
The Lady Flames conclude their regular season on Tuesday, playing host to Georgetown at 4 p.m. at Liberty Field Hockey Field.