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Big South Women's Soccer Championship Preview

November 3, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Big South Women's Soccer Championship Preview

The defending Big South Champion and No. 2 seed Liberty Lady Flames head to Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C., for a semifinal match-up with the No. 3 seed Campbell Camels, Friday. The second Big South Conference semifinal is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The semifinal winner will advance to play the winner of No. 5 seed Longwood and No. 1 seed High Point in the Big South title game, Sunday.

Friday night's contest will be a rematch of last season's Big South Championship match. Liberty, then the No. 1 seed, captured its fifth Big South crown with a 1-0 win over No. 3 Campbell, 1-0, at Bryan Park.

Liberty (12-7) will enter the semifinals looking to make its fourth consecutive title game appearance. The Lady Flames won Big South titles in 2013 and 2015.

The Lady Flames advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 victory over No. 7 seed UNC Asheville, Sunday. Liberty set a new program record with their sixth consecutive shutout. The Lady Flames have not allowed a goal have not allowed a goal over their last 583:57 of play.

In addition, their six-game winning streak is tied for the second longest by a Lady Flames squad. The 2000, 2014 and 2015 Liberty teams each won six games in a row.

Campbell (12-7) shut out No. 6 seed Radford, 2-0, to advance to the semifinals, this past Saturday.

How to Follow the Flames

A free live video stream will be available courtesy of the Big South Network, Friday evening. Sunday's final will be televised on ESPN3.

Live stats will also be available for both games by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

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 set a new program record with its sixth consecutive shutout, a 4-0 Big South Quarterfinal victory over UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Sunday at Osborne Stadium.

First-year head coach Nate Norman's team's sixth consecutive clean sheet surpasses five-straight shutouts each by the 2009 and 2013 teams. The Lady Flames have not allowed a goal over their last 583:57 of play and as a team, have posted nine shutouts this season.

The 2016 Big South Defensive Player of the Year and all-conference first team goalkeeper Holly Van Noord made two saves in the contest, including stopping a penalty kick, before Tori Collar took over in the Lady Flames net during the 73rd minute on Sunday.

Van Noord leads the conference with a 0.77 goals-against average and a save percentage of .869. The redshirt senior has not allowed a goal over her last 554:43 between the goalposts for the Lady Flames. She has posted seven shutouts this season and has extended her Big South and Liberty career record to 40.

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 a Big South-leading 16 goals and 0.84 goals per game, this season.

Isabella Habuda, Devon Jones, Jennifer Knoebel and Erika Troutman each scored a goal in Sunday's win.

The 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year and all-conference first team member Gabrielle Farrell is second in the conference and tops Liberty with 21 points. Farrell is tied for second with seven assists and tied for fifth with seven goals in the conference. The forward leads the Big South with five game-winning goals.

Midfielder Isabella Habuda, also an all-conference first team member, is tied for second in the Big South and leads Liberty with eight goals. The midfielder has four assists and is fourth in the Big South with 20 points.

All-conference forward Jennifer Knoebel and Devon Jones each reached 15 points on Sunday. Both players scored a goal and recorded an assist in the victory.

A Look at Campbell

All-conference first team forward Alexa Genas netted both goals, pushing Campbell to a 2-0 Big South Quarterfinal win over Radford, Saturday night.

With her two goals, Genas leads the Big South's highest scoring team with eight goals and has totaled 20 points. All-conference first team member Payton Ormsby leads the Big South Conference with 22 points. She has scored seven goals and has a conference-leading nine assists.

In all, four Camels have scored five or more goals, as Campbell paces the Big South with 40 goals.

Goalkeeper Natalya Marcove has posted a 1.39 goals-against average and .726 save percentage. She has six shutouts.

The Series

Liberty leads the all-time series, 7-4-1. The Lady Flames defeated the Camels, 5-0, during the 2016 regular season at Campbell.

Last year, Liberty edged Campbell, 1-0, to win the Big South title on Nov. 8 at Bryan Park.

Liberty's All-Time Marks in Big South Championship

2015 Big South Champion Liberty is 24-8-7 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 (3-0-2). 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).

Lady Flames and the Big South Championship

Liberty appeared in the finals for the third straight year in 2015, resulting in its fifth Big South Championship. The Lady Flames defeated Campbell, 1-0, in last year's title match.

The Lady Flames captured their fourth Big South Championship in 2013, defeating Radford in the finals, 5-0 (Nov. 10, 2013). Liberty's other titles came in 2000, 2001 and 2005.

With their appearance in 2015, the Lady Flames have played in eight conference finals, posting a 5-1-2 record. Liberty also made three straight trips to the Big South final from 1999 to 2001.

Liberty fell in its first appearance in the title game in 1999, 3-2, in overtime to Elon. The following year, the Lady Flames claimed their first championship with a 2-0 victory over Elon and then made it back-to-back titles with another 2-0 title-game win over the Phoenix in 2001. Liberty returned to the title game in 2005 and added its third trophy since 2000, with a 3-0 victory over UNC Asheville.

News & Notes

  • Liberty has posted a 7-1 record, outscoring its opponents, 24-2, in the month of October. Entering Friday night's semifinal, the Lady Flames have not allowed a goal since Gardner-Webb scored at 46:03 of their match in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Oct. 5.
     
  • Liberty's six-game winning streak is the second-longest winning streak in program history. Last season, the Lady Flames won six in a row to claim their fifth Big South Championship. The 2005 team holds the school record with a seven-game win streak during their march to their Big South title.
     
  • With their sixth consecutive shutout on Sunday, Liberty set a new program record. Head Coach Nate Norman's team surpassed the previous five-straight blank sheets each by the 2009 and 2013 teams. 
     
  • 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year Gabrielle Farrell is second on Liberty's all-time freshman scoring list with 21 points. Forward Lauren Coffey scored 32 points during his freshman season in 1999.
     
  • Farrell enters Friday's Big South semifinal needing one point to tie Brittany Aanderud for fifth on the school's all-time season point list. Aanderud posted 22 points in 2013. In addition, with one more assist, the forward will tie her current teammate Jennifer Knoebel (2015) and Madison Short (2010) for fourth on Liberty's single season assist list with eight assists.
     
  • With one more goal, first team all-conference midfielder Isabella Habuda will tie Nancy Davis for fifth on Liberty's all-time season goal list with nine. Davis, who tops the Liberty career goals list, tallied nine in 1998. 
     
  • Two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year Holly Van Noord holds the Big South and Liberty record with 40 career shutouts.  Van Noord broke the conference mark on Sept. 4 with her 34th shutout in a 1-0 victory over James Madison.
     
  • Van Noord is currently on pace to finish her career as Liberty's career goals-against average leader. The redshirt senior enters Friday's match with a 0.80 career GAA. In addition, she has posted three of the top five best GAA's in a season in program history, and her 2014 season with a 0.69 GAA is a school record.
     
  • Van Noord is second on Liberty's career saves list with 371. Sarah Hutchinson, 1994-97, holds the program mark with 461.
     
  • Two-time all-conference team forward Jennifer Knoebel is currently fourth on Liberty's career assists list with 17. Knoebel needs one more to tie Cheryl Jones (1997-2000) for third with 18.
     
  • Head Coach Nate Norman is the first Liberty head coach to lead his team to a double-digit win total during his first season. The Lady Flames' 12 victories are most ever in a head coach's inaugural season.