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Big South Quarterfinal Preview: No. 2 Seed Liberty vs. No.7 Seed UNC Asheville

October 28, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The defending Big South Champion and No. 2 seed Liberty Lady Flames will host the No. 7 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs in the Big South Quarterfinals, Sunday afternoon at Osborne Stadium. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m. The contest will be streamed live on the Big South Network.

The winner of Sunday's contest will advance to face the winner of No. 3 seed Campbell and No. 6 seed Radford in the conference semifinals, next Friday at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C.

The match-up will be the first meeting between Liberty (11-7, 7-2 Big South) and UNC Asheville (8-11, 3-6 Big South) in the Big South Tournament since 2006.

Last Saturday, Liberty defeated Asheville, 2-0, at Osborne Stadium in their 2016 regular season meeting.

How to Follow the Flames
A free live video stream courtesy of the Liberty Flames Sports Network and the Big South Network will be available on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. Live stats powered by StatBroadcast will also be available.

Van Noord, Farrell Garner Major Conference Awards
Redshirt senior Holly Van Noord and freshman forward Gabrielle Farrell each received a top Big South Conference honor, Friday. Van Noord was named the 2016 Big South Defensive Player of the Year, while Farrell garnered the 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year honor.  The awards are voted on by the conference's head coaches.

It is the second time in Van Noord's career that she has been named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.  The goalkeeper won the award in 2014. Meanwhile, Farrell becomes only the second Liberty freshman to win the conference's Freshman of the Year Award. Lady Flame Summer Able was selected as the conference's Co-Rookie of the Year in 1994.

Five Lady Flames Named to All-Conference Teams
Five Liberty women's soccer players have earned all-conference honors, as voted on by the conference's coaches.

Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord, forward Gabrielle Farrell and midfielder Isabella Habuda were each named to the first team, while forward Jennifer Knoebel and defender Sami Santos were selected to the second team.

Van Noord also was named to the Big South All-Academic team, while Farrell and Sierra Lam were selected to the Big South All-Freshman squad.

A Look at Liberty
Liberty tied a program record with their fifth consecutive shutout, downing the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 2-0, to complete their regular season, Tuesday at CSU Soccer Field.

Lauren Weygandt and Devon Jones each scored for the Lady Flames in the victory.

With the shutout, Head Coach Nate Norman's team will enter the 2016 Big South Women's Soccer Championship, having not allowed a goal over their last 493:57 of play. As a team, Liberty has posted eight shutouts, this season.

The 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year and all-conference member Gabrielle Farrell finished the regular season tied for the team lead and for third in the conference with all-conference team member Isabella Habuda with seven goals. Farrell is tied for the conference lead by averaging 1.25 points per game, this season. The forward is also tied for third in the conference and leads Liberty in assists (six) and points (20).

Habuda enters Sunday's game with 17 points on the season. The midfielder is tied for third in goals and for fourth in points in the Big South.

All-conference forward Jennifer Knoebel and Devon Jones have also reached double-digits in points. Knoebel has collected all 12 of her points, four goals and four assists, against Big South opponents. Jones has netted five goals and assisted on two others for 12 points.

The 2016 Big South Defensive Player of the Year and all-conference, goalkeeper Holly Van Noord leads the conference with a 0.80 goals-against average and .866 save percentage. She enters the weekend second in the conference in shutouts with seven, and has not allowed a goal over her last 482:01 of play. The redshirt senior has seven shutouts on the season and has posted 40 career blank sheets to extend her Big South and Liberty record.

Van Noord has been aided by a strong group of defenders in front of her. All-conference member Sami Santos, Jordan Kestel and Hadley Jones have helped to limit the Lady Flames' opponents to 0.88 goals per game, this season.

A Look at UNC Asheville
The Bulldogs have not played since falling to Liberty, 2-0, at Osborne Stadium, last Saturday.

Forward Caroline Houser leads Asheville in points with 14. Houser leads the Big South Conference in assists with eight and has scored three goals. Midfielder Paige Trent paces the Bulldogs with five goals.

Goalkeeper Keller Dixson has posted a 1.63 goals-against average and a .784 save percentage. She has played the majority of the season in the Bulldogs' net, logging over 1,300 minutes in the goal, this season.

The Series
UNC Asheville and Liberty will be meeting for the 29th time on Sunday afternoon. Liberty holds a 17-8-3 record in the all-time series. The Lady Flames are 9-0-3 against the Bulldogs in their last 12 meetings.

Liberty's All-Time Marks in Big South Championship
The 2015 Big South Champion, Liberty is 23-8-7 all-time in the Big South Championship, capturing titles in 2000, 2001, 2005 2013 and 2015. Liberty is first in the conference in tournament wins and is tied with Radford and High Point for the all-time record in titles won with five.

Last season, Liberty made its eighth finals appearance, the most Big South finals appearances in conference history. The Lady Flames, the No. 1 seed, won the title with a 1-0 win over No. 3 seed Campbell at Bryan Park.

The Lady Flames' most common opponents in the tournament have been High Point (5-1-1), Radford (4-1), Charleston Southern (2-1-1) and UNC Asheville (2-0-2). The Lady Flames have also played Presbyterian (1-0), Winthrop (1-1-1), Gardner-Webb (0-0-1), Campbell (2-0), Longwood (0-0-1) and former conference members Coastal Carolina (2-0), UMBC (0-3), Elon (2-1), Howard (1-0), Towson (0-1) and Birmingham Southern (1-0).