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Lady Flames NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament Preview: No. 3 Seed North Carolina

November 12, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament Preview: No. 3 Seed North Carolina

The 2015 Big South Champion Liberty women's soccer team will make its second appearance in the last three years in the NCAA Tournament, Friday evening. The Lady Flames will square off with the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels in their first round match-up at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. Match time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The contest will be the second meeting between the Lady Flames (13-7-1) and the Tar Heels (14-4-1). The Flames and Tar Heels previously met in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, with North Carolina claiming a 4-0 victory.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Live Stats will also be available by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

A Look at Liberty
The Liberty Lady Flames, the No. 1 seed, captured its fifth Big South Championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 3 seed Campbell, this past Sunday at Bryant Park in Greensboro, N.C.

Senior midfielder Brittany Aanderud netted her fourth goal of the season, the game's lone goal, during the first half, as the Lady Flames used strong defensive play to secure the shutout and the conference's championship. Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord made seven saves and collected her 10th shutout of the season while tying former Radford keeper Che' Brown (2010-13) for the Big South career shutout record (33).

Senior defender Alex Mack was selected as the Big South Tournament MVP and was joined by three other Lady Flames on the all-tournament team – sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel, Aanderud and Van Noord.

Knoebel leads the Lady Flames in goals (6), assists (8), and points (20), each a career-high for the sophomore. Aanderud follows with 14 points (4 goals, 6 assists). The senior holds the Liberty and Big South career assist record with 30.

Freshman Devon Jones will enter Friday's contest, one point shy of 10 points for the season. Jones is tied with Aanderud for second on the team with four goals and is tied with senior Crystal Elmers with three game-winning goals.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Van Noord has posted a 0.82 goals-against average and a .874 save percentage, this season. Currently, she ranks 11th nationally in save percentage and is 13th with 118 saves. Van Noord finished the year as the Big South leader in saves.

North Carolina at a Glance
The North Carolina Tar Heels will make their 34th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Friday. The Tar Heels are the only school in the nation to have made the field in every year of the tournament's existence.

North Carolina, ranked No. 8 nationally, earned an at-large berth to this year's tournament.  The Tar Heels finished in a tie for second place during the ACC regular season, before falling 2-1 to ACC Champion Florida State in the conference's semifinals, last Friday.

All-ACC forward Alexa Newfield leads the Tar Heels with 10 goals and 22 points, followed by All-ACC forward Jessie Scarpa with 21 points on seven goals and a team-leading seven assists.

Bryane Heaberlin and Lindsey Harris have split time in the Tar Heels goal, this season.  Heaberlin has started 17 of the Tar Heels' 19 games, posting a 0.50 goals-against average and a .828 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Harris has played in 18 contests, recording a 0.76 goals-against average and a .720 save percentage. The two have combined for nine shutouts.

Five Lady Flames Earn Big South All-Conference Honors
After garnering its second straight Big South regular-season championship, five Liberty women's soccer players have earned all-conference honors, as voted on by the conference's coaches.

Sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel headlines the group of Lady Flames, picking up first team and all-academic team honors. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Holly Van Noord and senior midfielder Rebekah Page were selected to the conference's second team. Freshmen forwards Devon Jones and Aly Hill each earned all-freshman team honors to round out Liberty's honorees.

The Core
Seniors Brittany Aanderud, Jaime Bouffard, Crystal Elmers, Madison Kauzlarich, Alex Mack and Rebekah Page have formed a solid foundation on which to build since coming to Liberty four years ago.

The six have helped Liberty post double-digit win totals in each of their four seasons, including a school record 16 in 2013.  During their time with the Lady Flames, Liberty has recorded a 54-24-7 mark and captured two Big South Championships (2013 & 2015).

Bouffard now holds the program record for most games played, surpassing former Lady Flame and  Pittsboro, N.C., native Casey Norris (2010-13, 84). Aanderud is now tied with Norris for second. Elmers is in the fourth spot with 79 contests and Page is tied with Liberty Hall of Famer Nancy Davis (1998-2001) with 78.

Lady Flames and the Big South Championship
With its 1-0 victory over Campbell in its third consecutive appearance in the Big South title game this past Sunday, Liberty ties High Point and Radford for the most Big South Conference titles in conference history with five. The Lady Flames also captured the Big South crowns in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2013.

Liberty has made the most appearances in the conference's title game, playing in eight. The Lady Flames have posted a 5-1-2 mark in the title match.

The Lady Flames have posted the most victories in Big South Tournament play, recording a 23-8-7 all-time mark in the tournament's history.

Head Coach Jessica Hain
Liberty Head Coach Jessica Hain is in her seventh season as the head coach of the Lady Flames. Coming into the tournament, Hain has posted a career record of 83-58-17. In 2009, she earned Big South Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first coach in Big South history to take a last place team to first place the following season.

Hain has lead the Lady Flames to three consecutive Big South Championship games, winning two titles in 2013 and 2015.

From 2004-06, Hain was an assistant coach under Todd Bramble at Clemson. Each of her three seasons with the Lady Tigers, Clemson received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in her final season in 2006. In her three seasons at Clemson, the Lady Tigers recorded a 40-25-9 mark.

A four-year letterwinner in the collegiate ranks, Hain played two years in the midfield at Ohio State (1995-96) and two seasons at N.C. State (1997-98). She was a three-time National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) of America Scholar-Athlete from 1995-97 and earned Academic All-ACC honors in 1998.

Liberty in Postseason/NCAA Tournament Play

Oct. 21, 2000 – First Women's Soccer Big South Championship
Liberty won its first-ever Big South Women's Soccer Championship, as the No. 2 seeded Lady Flames defeated No. 1 seed Elon, 2-0. On Nov. 3, Liberty defeated Tennessee Tech, 1-0, in a play-in game to advance to the NCAA Tournament, setting a then program record for most wins in a single season with 15. The Lady Flames fell in the opening round to Wake Forest on Nov. 8, 6-1.

Nov. 10, 2001

The following year, Liberty captured its second Big South championship, once again defeating Elon, 2-0 (Nov. 10, 2001). The Lady Flames were defeated by Virginia (3-0) in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament (Nov. 16), marking the end of a stellar career for now Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame member Nancy Davis.

Nov. 6, 2005
Liberty won its third Big South championship on Nov. 6, 2005, defeating UNC Asheville, 3-0. With the victory, the Lady Flames became the first Big South program to capture three championships. Liberty went on to face Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 4-0 (Nov. 11, 2005).

Nov. 10, 2013
The Liberty women's soccer team captured its fourth Big South Championship in record-setting fashion, defeating No. 1 seed Radford, 5-0, on Nov. 10, 2013. Liberty's five-goal performance marked a tournament record for the most tallies in a finals matchup. With the fifth straight victory, the Lady Flames improved to 16-5-1, surpassing the 2000 Big South championship-winning squad for the most single-season wins in program history.

Lady Flames News and Notes

  • The Lady Flames enter Friday night's contest on a six-game winning streak their longest of 2015.
    Liberty has outscored its opponents, 10-1, over the span. The lone opponent marker occurred during the Lady Flames' 2-1 win over High Point in the Big South Semifinals, last Friday.
  • The Lady Flames have compiled 24 Big South regular-season wins in the past three years, garnering eight conference victories for the third consecutive year.
  • Liberty has been the Big South regular season champion the past two seasons. The Lady Flames posted an 8-1-1 mark last season and an 8-2 record this season in league play.
  • The Lady Flames have been dominate at home over the last three seasons. Liberty has posted a 25-4-1 record at Osborne Stadium. The Lady Flames had a 14-game unbeaten streak at the facility from Sept. 7, 2014 through Oct. 17, 2015.
  • Aanderud, a midfielder, is second all-time on the Liberty scoring list with 64 points. Liberty Hall of Fame member Nancy Davis (1998-2001) holds the record with 106. In addition, Aanderud holds the Liberty single season record with 10 assists in a season and the program record with 30.
  • Besides already holding several school records, Van Noord is currently on pace to set the Liberty mark for lowest goals-against average.  Van Noord enters Friday night's contest with a career 0.74 goals-against average.