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Foster and Lady Flames Garner Big South Recognition

April 28, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Foster and Lady Flames Garner Big South Recognition

The Liberty lacrosse squad finished the regular season with a 4-4 Big South record, claiming the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship. To complement the Lady Flames' performance, Liberty was well represented in the Big South postseason honors category.

Redshirt senior captains Colleen Ekert and Callie Francis were named to the all-conference first team squad. Senior captain Kallie Britton was joined by a pair of freshmen in Kayla Foster and Brianna McCaffrey on the all-conference second team, while Foster was also tabbed as the program's first-ever Big South Freshman of the Year. Kelly Belue was named to the all-academic team, while Melanie Via rounds out the honorees by being tabbed to the honorable mention all-conference team.

Ekert claims her second consecutive first team all-conference appearance in only her second year in the red and blue uniform. Ekert finished the regular season with 42 ground balls, 20 draw controls and 33 caused turnovers. Ekert ranks fourth in the Big South in caused turnovers. The New York native also chipped in one assist and one goal on the offensive end. In just two years of competition, Ekert ranks third in program history for career caused turnovers with 65 and sixth in program history in ground balls with 88.

Francis joined the squad for the 2016 season after transferring from Duke where she competed in both track & field and lacrosse. The Florida native accumulated 36 points, ranking third on the team. Francis netted 25 goals and recorded 11 assists, ranking second on the squad in both categories. The redshirt senior also ranked second on the team in draw controls with 28 and caused turnovers with 19, while also finishing fourth on the squad in ground balls with 27.

Foster turned in an outstanding freshman campaign, leading the team in points with 50 and assists with 28. Foster needs just six assists to pass Morgan Becker for the most assists in a single season in program history. The Pennsylvania native also chipped in 22 goals, ranking third on the team. Foster's efforts aided her in appearing on the second team all-conference as well as becoming the first Lady Flame to garner the Big South Freshman Player of the Year.

Britton finds herself on the all-conference second team for the second consecutive season. The Kansas native leads the squad in goals with 33 and is currently fourth on the team in assists with nine. Britton's 42 points ranks second on the team, behind Foster's 50 tallies. Britton is positioned third on the squad in ground balls with 30, while also chipping in 17 draw controls and 14 caused turnovers. Britton currently ranks second in program history in assists with 58, while also sitting in the fourth slot in both goals (103) and points (161).

McCaffrey garners recognition on the second team all-conference after finishing the season with a team-best 40 draw controls. The Florida freshman has anchored the midfield on the draws, winning nearly 22 percent of the Lady Flames draws. McCaffrey has also netted 12 goals and recorded three assists. In addition, McCaffrey has forced 15 turnovers and has scooped up 21 ground balls.

Via was named to the honorable mention all-conference squad. Via has started in each of Liberty's 17 contests and has accumulated 16 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. Via is one of Liberty's top face-guard defenders on the squad and is tasked each game with shutting down the opponent's top scorer.

Belue rounds out the Liberty honorees as the senior midfielder was named to the Big South All-Academic squad. Belue finished the regular season with three goals and six assists. The North Carolinian has accumulated a GPA of over 3.8 as an exercise science major and will graduate this upcoming May.

The Big South's Offensive Player of the Year was awarded to Campbell's Loren Day, while teammate Erica Hitch was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Winthrop's John Sung and High Point's Lyndsey Boswell were named co-coach of the year, while Winthrop's Alaina Girani and Longwood's Shiloh McKenzie were tabbed as co-defensive players of the year.

The 2016 Big South Lacrosse Championship gets under way on Saturday with the quarterfinal round. The No. 5 seed Lady Flames will travel to Conway, S.C., to take on No. 4 seed Coastal Carolina at 1 p.m. at Brooks Stadium.

2016 Big South Conference Women's Lacrosse All-Conference Teams
First Team All-Conference

ATT      Loren Day, Sr., Campbell
ATT      Allie Foard, Sr., High Point
ATT      Emily Meier, Sr., High Point
MF       Shannon Gallagher, Sr., Winthrop
MF       Sarah Butler, Sr., Longwood
MF       Erica Perrotta, So., High Point
MF       Katherine Judge, So., Winthrop
MF       Kristina Renner, Sr., High Point
D         Shiloh McKenzie, Sr., Longwood
D         Christina Del Sesto, Jr., High Point
D         Colleen Ekert, R-Sr., Liberty
GK       Alaina Girani, So., Winthrop
AL        Charlotte O'Leary, Sr., MF, Coastal Carolina
AL       Callie Francis, R-Sr., MF, Liberty
AL        Paige Jenkins, Jr., D, Winthrop

Second Team All-Conference
ATT      Katie Clark, So., Winthrop
ATT     Kayla Foster, Fr., Liberty
ATT      Katie McHugh, Sr., Longwood
MF       Amanda Steinmuller, So., Gardner-Webb
MF       Kallie Britton, Sr., Liberty
MF       Melissa Placek, Fr., Campbell
MF       Brianna McCaffrey, Fr., Liberty
MF        Leah Pace, Sr., High Point
D         Erin O'Hara, Jr., Campbell
D         Nyra Constant, Sr., Coastal Carolina
D         Maura Talvacchia, Jr., Presbyterian
GK       Molly Andrews, Fr., High Point
AL        Erica Hitch, Sr., ATT, Campbell
AL        Sara Nolan, Sr., ATT, Coastal Carolina
AL        Hayley Krause, Sr., D, Winthrop

Honorable Mention All-Conference
ATT      Alex Fusco, So., Gardner-Webb
ATT      Kristen Shriver, So., Winthrop
MF       Sophie Crowther, So., Coastal Carolina
D         Monique Martin, So., Gardner-Webb
D         Melanie Via, Sr., Liberty

All-Academic Team
Erica Hitch, Sr., ATT, Campbell
Gabby Vujanic, So., MF, Coastal Carolina
Cassidy McDowell, So., GK, Gardner-Webb
Samantha Brown, Jr., ATT, High Point
Kelly Belue, Sr., MF, Liberty
Sarah Butler, Sr., MF, Longwood
Katy Richardson, Sr., ATT, Presbyterian
Emily Hoke, Sr., D, Radford
Logan McCarthy, Sr., MF, Winthrop

Offensive Player of the Year
Loren Day, Sr., ATT, Campbell

Co-Defensive Player of the Year
Shiloh McKenzie, Sr., D, Longwood
Alaina Girani, So., GK, Winthrop

Freshman of the Year
Kayla Foster, Fr., ATT, Liberty

Co-Coach of the Year
John Sung, Winthrop
Lyndsey Boswell, High Point

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Erica Hitch, Sr., ATT, Campbell