(L-R) Jennifer Knoebel and Holly Van Noord were named Big South Preseason Attacking Player and Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
After capturing its record-tying fifth Big South championship, last year, the Liberty women's soccer team has swept the Big South preseason awards heading into the 2016 season. Junior forward Jennifer Knoebel garnered Preseason Attacking Player of the Year, while redshirt senior Holly Van Noord earned Preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season. The Lady Flames were also voted the preseason favorite for the third consecutive year and eighth time in program history, garnering 97 of 100 possible points in the coaches' poll. A key component in Liberty's 2015 Big South Women's Soccer Championship run, Knoebel paced the Lady Flames in points (20), goals (6) and assists (8) during the year. Knoebel's eight helpers tied her for the third best mark in the Big South, this past season. In addition to receiving Big South All-Tournament honors, Knoebel also earned spots on the Big South All-Conference first team and VaSID All-State second team. The Warrenton, Va., native was named Big South Attacking Player of the Week on Oct. 5 for her performances in wins over Campbell (3-1) and UNC Asheville (1-0). Van Noord added another stellar season to the mantle in 2015, once again picking up NSCAA All-Region third team honors. Tied for the Big South lead in shutouts with 10, the netminder also paced the league in saves with 125 (ninth in the country), while finishing the year second in the Big South in save percentage (.862) and goals-against average (0.92).
Van Noord was instrumental in Liberty's championship season, allowing just one goal during the conference tournament en route to earning all-tournament honors. The second team all-conference selection also recorded her 33rd career shutout in Liberty's 1-0 victory over Campbell in the Big South Championship final (Nov. 8), tying Radford's Che' Brown for the Big South record.
Liberty closed out 2015 with a 13-8-1 mark overall and an 8-2 record in conference play. The Lady Flames also posted eight conference victories for the third straight season, concluding Big South regular-season play with an 8-2 record. Liberty punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, squaring off once again with No. 3 seed North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated the Lady Flames in the first round, 3-0 (Nov. 13).
2016 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Soccer Poll Rk Team (first-place votes) - Points 1. Liberty (8) - 97 2. High Point (1) - 90 3. Campbell (1) - 70 4. Longwood - 65 T5. Radford - 48 T5. UNC Asheville - 48 7. Charleston Southern - 45 T8. Gardner-Webb - 36 T8. Winthrop - 36 10. Presbyterian College – 15
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