LYNCHBURG, Va. – Under the direction of second-year head coach Kelly Nangle, the Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse team kicks off its 2015 season with a home contest against Virginia Tech on Friday. The contest is slated to begin at 4 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
As the Lady Flames prepare for their season opener, Alan York of the Liberty Flames Sports Network caught up with assistant coach Annie McGinley to discuss the expectations of Friday and notes on the season. McGinley also shared her insight to a little sibling rivalry, with her younger sister Tristan McGinley now a freshman on the Hokies' lacrosse team.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live stats and live video will be available for Friday's game on LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the live stats link on the lacrosse schedule/results page. Live stats are brought to you by StatBroadcast and the live video is made available by the Big South Conference. Fans can also follow the game through periodic twitter updates from @LUGameday and @libertywlax.
Series History Versus Virginia Tech Liberty and Virginia Tech will meet on the lacrosse field for the fifth time in program history. The Hokies are the only ACC opponent on this year's schedule. Virginia Tech holds a 4-0 series advantage over the Lady Flames with the last contest falling in favor of the Hokies by a score of 18-7 in Blacksburg, Va. on April 2, 2014.
Liberty in Season Openers The Lady Flames are 2-3 all-time in season opening contests. This is the first time that Liberty is competing at Liberty Lacrosse Field to open the season since Feb. 15, 2012 when the team hosted No. 3 North Carolina, falling 19-3. The Lady Flames have yet to win or lose consecutive season opening matches. Last season, Liberty fell at Richmond by a score of 16-7 on Feb. 7.
Previewing the Lady Flames Coming off a tough 2-16 season, Liberty enters its sixth season of competition as a program and its third season as a member of the Big South Conference. The Lady Flames are 10-26 since joining the Big South but hav seen improvements each year. The improvements have been rightfully recognized, garnering the fourth place selection in this year's Big South Lacrosse Preseason Poll, the highest ranking in program history.
The Lady Flames return eight of 12 starters from last year's squad, including Big South Preseason All-Conference honoree and co-captain Nina Dunay. Dunay is joined by redshirt senior and co-captain Morgan Becker. Liberty's top five scorers from last season, Sam Struss (50 points), Becker (40 points), Kallie Britton (34 points), Dunay (33 points) and Michaela Rich (25 points) are all back to provide the team with explosive scoring options on the offensive end of the field. Struss set the program's single-season goals record with 41 and points record with 50.
Junior goalkeeper Juliann Elmer looks to answer the call for the Lady Flames, anchoring the defense for the red and blue. Elmer is filling the shoes of standout goalie Kristen Masullo, who is now the goalie's assistant coach here at Liberty. Groundball specialist Faith Wells and caused turnover extraordinaire Dunay aim to contribute to the strong defensive effort for the Lady Flames.
Liberty welcomes 10 newcomers to this year's squad. University of Mount Olive transfer Ashlyn Altieri joins Columbia College transfer Eden Bayuk as the sophomore newcomers. Freshmen Abigail Britton, Anna Browne, Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti, Erin Cornell, Lindsey McNamara, Katy Pridemore, and Caroline Smith add to the talented 2015 squad for the Lady Flames. Former field hockey athlete, Mercedes Cox, rounds out the newcomers to the Liberty lacrosse squad.
Previewing the Hokies Virginia Tech finished the 2014 season with a 7-10 overall record and finished last in the ACC with an 0-7 mark. All seven of the Hokies' conference losses came against a nationally ranked opponent. Virginia Tech posted a 3-5 record on the road last season.
Megan Will is Virginia Tech's top returning scorer from a season ago. The senior tallied 48 goals and recorded 17 assists for the Hokies. Virginia Tech returns Meagh Graham in goal, who started all 17 contests and recorded 96 saves. The sophomore goalie posted a 14.74 goals against average during the 2014 campaign.
Looking Ahead Liberty continues its five-game home stand to start the season with a pair of matchups on Feb. 13 against Navy and Feb. 15 against Vanderbilt.
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