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Liberty to Face UConn in BIG EAST Title Game on Sunday

November 5, 2016  Philadelphia, Pa.  RSS
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Liberty faces UConn in the BIG EAST Championship title game on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Photo credit: Mitch Lefft)

Liberty faces UConn in the BIG EAST Championship title game on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Photo credit: Mitch Lefft)

The No. 2 seed Liberty field hockey team faces No. 1 seed UConn in the 2016 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship final on Sunday. The match is set for a 1 p.m. start at Howarth Field at the Temple Sports Complex.

Liberty enters the contest with an 8-9 overall record and advanced to the championship game with a 1-0 win over No. 3 seed Providence in the semifinals on Friday. The Lady Flames are making their first appearance in the BIG EAST Championship final in their first year in the league.

UConn stands at 19-1 overall and is the No. 4 team in the nation. The Huskies advanced to the title game with an 8-1 victory over No. 4 seed Temple on Friday afternoon. Connecticut has won the BIG EAST title in each of the past four seasons.

The two teams met earlier in the year, with UConn picking up a 7-2 win over Liberty on Oct. 15 in Storrs, Conn.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
A live video stream, courtesy of the BIG EAST Digital Network via FOX Sports Go, will be available for the match. Find the link on the schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com.

Live stats for the contest, courtesy of Temple Athletics Communications, will be available by clicking the appropriate link on the field hockey schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

Be sure to follow @LUGameDay on Twitter for live in-game updates.

Liberty History in Championship Games
The Liberty field hockey program is in its sixth year of existence, and the team has been in a championship game in every season that is his been in a conference.

In 2011, the Lady Flames were not in a conference. Liberty joined the NorPac Conference beginning in 2012, and the team reached the championship contest in the conference tournament in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In 2012, the Lady Flames reached the NorPac title game before falling to Stanford. The following year, Liberty upended top-seeded Stanford, 2-1, in the championship match to win the 2013 NorPac Championship title and earn a berth in the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

The Lady Flames repeated as NorPac champions in 2014 with a 1-0 win over No. 1 seed Stanford and went on to win one game in the 2014 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

In 2015, Liberty finished the season 12-6 as an independent before officially joining the BIG EAST Conference on Dec. 8, 2015.

BIG EAST Awards
Five Liberty field hockey players were honored on the All-BIG EAST Teams, released by the conference on Thursday.

Senior defender Serena Barr was named the BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year and a first team All-BIG EAST selection, while goalkeeper Allison Schaefer was tabbed the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and a second team All-BIG EAST selection.

Senior midfielder Bethany Barr and freshman midfielder Agueda Moroni garnered spots on the All-BIG EAST first team. Sophomore midfielder Abby Julius earned a place on the All-BIG EAST second team.

The awards were determined by voting from BIG EAST coaches on the basis of performance in 2016 conference matches. The Lady Flames posted a 5-2 mark in BIG EAST play to finish second in the conference.

Lady Flames News and Notes:

  • Six Liberty players have 10 or more points this year: Serena Barr (25), Agueda Moroni (23), Bethany Barr (23), Abby Julius (14), Kendra Jones (13) and Alynn Richardson (12).
  • Four different Lady Flames have game-winning goals this season: Agueda Moroni (3), Bethany Barr (2), Kendra Jones (2) and Summer Parker (1).
  • Agueda Moroni leads Liberty with 10 goals this season. The freshman has eight goals in her last seven contests.
  • Freshman goalkeeper Allison Schaefer ranks second in program history in single-season saves and third in program history in career saves with 115. She had five saves in a shutout of Providence and needs three more to tie Ann Jefferis for the all-time single-season mark (118), set in 2011.
  • The Lady Flames hold a 122-70 advantage over their opponents in penalty corners drawn this season.
  • Liberty has outscored its opponents, 47-39, this season.
  • The Lady Flames are 4-5 in one-goal games in 2016.
  • Liberty has recorded three shutouts in 2016, all against BIG EAST foes (Georgetown, Temple and Providence).
  • Liberty is currently listed No. 30 in the NCAA Field Hockey RPI.

Scouting UConn
The Huskies are ranked No. 4 in the NHFCA Division I Coaches Poll and No. 4 in the NCAA Field Hockey RPI. UConn's lone loss of the year came to No. 3 Maryland on Oct. 23.

Offensively, the Huskies led by junior forward Charlotte Veitner, the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Veitner has totaled 24 goals, 14 assists and a nation-best 62 points. Sophomore Amanda Collins (19 g, 11 a, 49 pts) and junior Casey Umstead (17 g , 15 a, 49 pts) are formidable second and third scoring options. Senior Anna Middendorf (11 g, 4 a, 26 pts) anchors a Huskies defense that has yielded only 24 goals in 20 contests.

Nina Klein (19-1-0, 1.19 GAA) will do the goalkeeping for Connecticut. The redshirt junior has five shutouts and 48 saves in 2016.

UConn is coached by Nancy Stevens, who is in her 27th season at the school and 38th overall as a head coach. She is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I Field Hockey history with 636 career wins.

A Look Ahead
If the Lady Flames defeat UConn on Sunday, they will automatically qualify for the 2016 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

The NCAA Division I Field Hockey Selection Show will air on Sunday night at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com.