The Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse squad has been predicted to finish the 2016 season in fourth place in the Big South women's lacrosse preseason poll. The poll was voted on by the conference's head coaches.
The Lady Flames look to build off their program-best 9-11 record from a season ago, including the program record of five conference wins. Liberty was the No. 2 seed in the Big South Women's Lacrosse tournament a season ago, advancing to the Big South Championship against No. 1 seed Winthrop. Some of Liberty's accomplishments in 2015 include six team single-game records, seven team single-season records, five individual single-game records, nine individual single-season records and nine individual career records for a total of 36 records broken a season ago.
Liberty's fourth place selection marks the second consecutive season that the Lady Flames have garnered the preseason ranking in just the program's fourth year in the conference.
Head Coach Kelly Nangle, who enters her third season at the helm of the Lady Flames, looks to blend a mix of experienced veterans with a large number of underclassmen. The Lady Flames return 11 players who competed in double-digit contests from last year's roster. Among the returnees are Kallie Britton, Colleen Ekert and Katy Pridemore who were each named to the Preseason Big South All-Conference squad. Britton and Pridemore combined for 85 goals, 32 assists, 117 points, 47 ground balls, 55 draw controls and 31 caused turnovers last season. Pridemore recorded 52 goals, setting a new Liberty program record for goals scored in a single season. Ekert finished the year with one assist, 46 ground balls, 22 draw controls and a program-best 32 caused turnovers. The trio was named to the Big South All-Tournament squad last season as well as being recognized on the Big South All-Conference first and second teams, respectively.
Reigning league champion, Winthrop, was chosen as the preseason favorite. The Eagles garnered seven out of nine first-place votes and 78 points. Three-time league champion High Point follows in second with one first-place vote and 68 points.
Coastal Carolina was tabbed to finish third with 60 points, followed by the Lady Flames with one first-place vote and 59 points. Campbell falls in behind Liberty for fifth with 43 points, with Longwood on their tracks with 40 points to garner the sixth spot. Presbyterian (24), Gardner-Webb (21) and newcomer Radford (12) round out the remaining Big South preseason poll, coming in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
Liberty opens the 2016 season on the road at Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. on Feb. 13. The first home contest for the Lady Flames will be on Feb. 24 against VCU at 4 p.m.
The 2016 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship will begin on April 30 and conclude on May 7. The No.1 seed for the tournament will serve as the host for both the semifinals and the title game.
2016 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Lacrosse Poll Team (first-place votes) – Points 1. Winthrop (7) – 78 2. High Point (1) – 68 3. Coastal Carolina – 60 4. Liberty (1) – 59 5. Campbell – 43 6. Longwood – 40 7. Presbyterian – 24 8. Gardner-Webb – 21 9. Radford – 12
2016 Big South Preseason All-Conference Team Pos. Name (School) Att. Allie Foard High Point Att. Katy Pridemore Liberty Att. Keri White Coastal Carolina MF Shannon Gallagher Winthrop MF Kallie Britton Liberty MF Erica Perrotta High Point MF Sarah Butler Longwood MF Leah Pace High Point D Maddy Ciardi Coastal Carolina D Erin O'Hara Campbell D Colleen Ekert Liberty GK Alaina Girani Winthrop Alt. Loren Day Campbell Alt. Hayley Krause Winthrop Alt. Shiloh McKenzie Longwood
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