Bethany Barr was one of six Lady Flames to score in Liberty's season-opening win over James Madison.
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey squad revealed their offensive firepower in a convincing 6-3 victory over visiting James Madison on Friday at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
With the win, Liberty improves to 1-0 on the season and 4-1 all-time in season openers. With the six-goal victory, the Lady Flames picked up where they left off last year when they finished No. 2 in the country in goals scored per game (3.44).
The loss drops the Dukes to 0-1 on the early season in the first-ever matchup between the two programs.
The Lady Flames pounded the net throughout the contest, tallying a total of 20 shots, 13 of which were on frame. Six different players each netted a goal for the Lady Flames in the victory.
The Dukes claimed the early lead just 47 seconds into the contest when Melanie Kusakavitch redirected a ball that entered from outside the circle to give James Madison the early 1-0 advantage.
Freshman forward Abby Julius netted the Lady Flames' first goal of the season during the ninth minute of competition. After receiving the ball on the far sideline, Julius weaved through defenders to get a clear look at the goal. The Hummelstown, Pa., native wasted no time in taking advantage of her first career shot, ripping the ball into the bottom right corner to tie the contest at one apiece.
Rachel Suter provided Liberty with its first advantage of the contest during the 10th minute of play off of a short corner. Ashlee Krulock inserted the ball from the baseline where Bethany Barr set up Suter's shot on goal. The sophomore midfielder flung the ball towards the net, taking a Liberty hop off a defender's stick, to send the ball into the upper right corner of the net.
James Madison's Taylor West responded in the 21st minute when she lobbed a reverse hit over Mallory Cuccio's outstretched arms, netting the equalizer the tie the contest at 2-2.
In the closing minute of the first half, Bethany Barr netted her first goal of the season to end Liberty's first half on a positive note. After being granted the short corner, Hannah Jones inserted the ball to Barr at the top of the circle. The Northern Ireland native smashed the ball on frame, deflecting off a defender's stick and lifting the ball above Sara Kraeutler's shoulder to give the Lady Flames a 3-2 lead heading into the locker room.
Despite Liberty taking the first seven shots of the second half, it was West once again netting the equalizer in the 56th minute of competition.
The Lady Flames captured the see-saw competition back for good in the 59th minute when Natalie Barr netted her first goal of the season. After the ball was played into the circle, Kraeutler attempted to kick the ball away. However, Barr snagged the ball from the feet of Kraeutler and faked the goalie from left to right, setting up a shot in the right side of the net to take the 4-3 lead.
Liberty pounded two more insurance goals, one from Sarah Gipe and one from Summer Parker during the final 10 minutes, securing the Lady Flames' 6-3 victory to open the campaign.
Liberty outshot James Madison by a tally of 20-13, including a 13-8 shots on goal advantage.
The Lady Flames also held a 9-3 advantage in short corners, including six short corners during the second half.
Mallory Cuccio recorded five saves en route to her season opening victory.
Liberty returns to action on next Friday at 4 p.m. when the Lady Flames host the Penn Quakers at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
The contest against Penn begins Liberty's three-game stretch in a span of five days. Liberty will also host Lafayette on Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. and Richmond on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.