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Liberty Ready for Key Big South Matchups

April 15, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Ready for Key Big South Matchups

With a 4-0 Big South record, the Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse squad aims to improve on that mark, taking on High Point on Friday at 4 p.m. in Lynchburg, Va., followed by a road test at Winthrop on Sunday at 1 p.m. Friday's contest is the final regular season home game for Liberty and will also serve as senior day for four Lady Flames. 

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will be available for Friday's contest at LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the appropriate links on the lacrosse schedule/results page. Live stats for Friday's contest are provided by the StatBroadcast while live video is broadcasted through the Big South Network. Live stats for Sunday's matchup will be provided by the Winthrop Sports Information department. Fans can also follow the game through periodic Twitter updates from @LUGameday and @libertywlax.

Series History Versus the Panthers                  
Liberty looks to notch its first victory against High Point in program history as the Lady Flames are 0-4 all-time on the lacrosse pitch. In the most recent bout between the two programs, the Panthers bested Liberty in Lynchburg, Va. on April 11, 2014 by a score of 17-5.

Series History Versus the Eagles
Liberty and Winthrop have squared off twice before, with each team claiming a victory on the road. In the most recent outing between the two programs, the Eagles defeated the Lady Flames, 19-14 on April 25, 2015.

Previewing the Lady Flames
The Lady Flames enter Friday's contest having won four consecutive matches to bring their overall record to 6-8. Liberty is 4-0 in conference play with its most recent victory coming against Presbyterian in Clinton, S.C. by a score of 23-9.

Offensively, the Lady Flames are led by freshman Katy Pridemore and redshirt senior and co-captain Morgan Becker. Pridemore currently has 39 goals and 12 assists while Becker has 30 goals and 21 assists. The duo set a new program record on Sunday with their 51st points, eclipsing Sam Struss record of 50 points in a single season set one year ago. Pridemore needs three goals to pass Struss for the most goals all-time in a single season while Becker needs just one assist to surpass Struss for the most assists in a single season.

Sam Struss is having a strong senior season, adding 22 goals and 13 assists to her career totals. Co-captain Nina Dunay has recorded 19 goals and nine assists in 12 contests for the red and blue this season.

Juliann Elmer and Colleen Ekert lead a strong defensive force for the Lady Flames. Elmer currently leads the nation in saves with 171 and holds a 6-8 record between the pipes for Liberty. The junior goalkeeper also leads the squad in ground balls with 40. Ekert falls right behind Elmer with 32 ground balls, ranking second on the team. In Sunday's 23-9 victory over Presbyterian, Ekert scooped up a record setting seven ground balls for the Lady Flames. Ekert has also caused 19 turnovers, ranking third on the squad.

Previewing the Panthers
High Point enters the match with a 5-8 overall record, including a 3-1 Big South mark. The Panthers most recently bested Campbell on Sunday, 21-6 in High Point, N.C. The Panthers have won three of their last four matches after starting the season with a 2-7 record.

Allie Foard leads the offensive attack for High Point with a team-high 24 goals and a team-best 18 assists. Emily Meier sits second on the squad in points with 29, including 19 goals and 10 assists.

Julia Burns stands in goal for High Point, posting a 5-8 overall record with 106 saves on the season.

The Panthers were selected to finish first in this year's preseason Big South Conference standings.

Previewing the Eagles
Winthrop enters Sunday's match with a 12-2 overall record, including a perfect 4-0 in Big South play. The Eagles have won five consecutive matches as well as 11 of their last 12. Winthrop's last loss came on March 18 when the Eagles fell to San Diego State, 17-7 in San Diego, Calif. Winthrop will have a chance to improve on its record with a matchup against Longwood on Friday at 4 p.m. in Farmville, Va.

The Eagles are led by the nation's top goal scorer in Jenna Kasmarik. The Georgia native has netted 62 goals this season, 4.77 goals per game.

In goal for Winthrop is three-time Big South Defensive Player of the Week, Alaina Girani. Girani has posted a 12-2 record this season, while turning away 95 shots on the season.

Senior Spotlight
Morgan Becker

Becker currently ranks first all-time in program history in goals (120), points (168) and draw controls (160). The Round Hill, Va., native also ranks fourth in program history in assists (38), free position goals (19) and games played (67). This season Becker broke a single-season record of points with 51 and is leading the team in assists with 21. With one more assist, the redshirt senior will pass teammate Sam Struss for the most assists in a single season. Twice this season, Becker has reached the nine point plateau, tying her with Karis Walborn for the most points recorded in a single contest. On April 4, the senior attacker netted six goals against Campbell, tying her with three other Lady Flames for the most goals scored in a single contest.

Mercedes Cox
Mercedes Cox comes over from the Liberty field hockey team where she helped the Lady Flames win two NorPac Championships as well as claim back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

Nina Dunay
Dunay has 118 career goals, second most in program history. Dunay was the first Lady Flame to reach the century mark in goals when she netted her 100th career goal in a 15-11 loss in the season opener to Virginia Tech on Feb. 6. Dunay also ranks second in points (159), caused turnovers (75) and games played (69). The standout co-captain ranks third in program history in assists (41), draw controls (107) and free position goals (20).

This season, Dunay has won 38 draw controls and caused 21 turnovers, ranking first on the squad in each category. Dunay has also netted 19 goals this season to place sixth on the team in goals scored.

Sam Struss
Struss currently ranks first in program history in assists (48) as well as free position goals (25). The standout attacker has netted 94 goals ranking fourth most in school history while also recording 142 points, ranking third in program history.

This season, Struss is third in both points (35) and goals (22). The Evans City, Pa., native ranks second on the squad in assists with 13.

Looking Ahead
Following this weekend's action, the Lady Flames close out their regular season schedule on April 24 with a Big South showdown against Longwood in Farmville, Va. The contest is slated to begin at 6 p.m.