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No. 2 Seed Liberty Advances to Big South Championship Semifinals

April 28, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The No. 2 seed Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse squad rolled through No. 7 seed Gardner-Webb in the Big South Championship quarterfinals, 21-4 on Tuesday afternoon in Lynchburg, Va.

With the win, Liberty improved to 8-10 overall, while advancing to the Big South semifinals for the second time in the last three seasons. Gardner-Webb concludes its inaugural season with a 1-16 overall mark.

The Lady Flames jumped on the board early and quick, taking a 4-0 lead during the first five minutes of competition. Four different players found the back of the net in the early run, led by co-captain Morgan Becker and standout freshman Katy Pridemore.

After the Runnin' Bulldogs netted their first goal to pull to within three, Liberty excelled on the offensive end of the field with a 6-0 run, taking a nine goal advantage with 18:30 remaining in the first half. Sam Struss and Pridemore collected two goals apiece during the six-goal spurt, marking Pridemore's ninth hat trick on the season.

Gardner-Webb's Lindsey Lippert found the back of the net with 13:08 remaining in the opening stanza to pull to within eight.

However, the Lady Flames responded with their second consecutive 6-0 run to close the half, taking a 16-2 advantage into intermission.

To begin the run, Morgan Becker found sophomore sister Olivia Becker for her third goal of the season and 28th assist by the redshirt senior. Morgan Becker picked up one more assist before the break, setting up Alyssa Kidder with her first goal of the contest. Kidder found the back of the net with five ticks remaining before intermission to close the first half.

Liberty began the second half much like it ended the first half. Michaela Rich connected on her second goal of the game with 26:47 left in regulation. Rich's goal was set up by Morgan Becker for her 30th assist of the season.

The Lady Flames outscored Gardner-Webb, 4-2 during the final 21 minutes of play to solidify their place in the Big South Championship semifinals.

Two of the four goals were collected by Pridemore, her 49th and 50th goals of the season. Pridemore's 50th goal came with fancy footwork and trickery. After receiving the pass from Kelly Belue, the Vero Beach, Fla., native weaved around one defender, running towards the right side of the net.

With another defender on her side, Pridemore whipped the stick behind her head, flinging a shot over her right shoulder into the left side of the net to take a 19-4 lead with 9:26 remaining in the second half.

Rich found the back of the net for her third goal of the contest and 27th of the season. Rich's hat trick marked her third of the season. The final goal of the contest was recorded by Liberty's Courtney Brown, her 14th of the season. Brown's goal was set up by Becker's team-high 31st assist.

Liberty outshot Gardner-Webb by a total of 40-11 over the duration of the contest. The Lady Flames also scooped up 29 ground balls to the Runnin' Bulldogs 21. Liberty won the battle in the middle of the field as well, winning 20 draw controls to just seven for Gardner-Webb.

With today's victory, No. 2 seed Liberty advances to the Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship semifinal round where they will face No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina.

The Chanticleers advanced to the semifinals with a 15-11 overtime win this evening over No. 6 seed Campbell.

The semifinals and championship rounds of the 2015 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship will take place at No. 1 seed Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C.

Liberty's semifinal matchup against Coastal Carolina will be played on Friday at 7 p.m. The victor will advance to Sunday's title game at 1 p.m., which will air on ESPN3.