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2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship Preview

April 27, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship Bracket

No. 4 seed Liberty will open the 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship with a quarterfinal matchup against No. 5 seed Longwood on Saturday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

The Lady Flames, who were selected to finish fourth in the conference's preseason poll, posted a 4-3 mark in Big South regular-season competition, while the Lancers finished fifth at 3-4, after winning their final two league contests.

The winner of Saturday's noon quarterfinal match will move on to face tournament host and No. 1 seed High Point (13-3) on May 5 at 4 p.m. The Panthers will host the semifinals and finals of the 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship on May 5 and 7.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 seed Winthrop (8-9) will host No. 6 seed Radford (6-10) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Rock Hill, S.C. The victor of that contest will move on to meet No. 2 seed Campbell (9-7) in a 7 p.m. semifinal game on May 5 at High Point.

The Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship title game will be held at noon on May 7 at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C.

Series History vs. Longwood
The Lady Flames hold a 2-6 record all-time against the Lancers. Liberty upended Longwood, 18-8, in the two teams' regular-season meeting on April 5 in Farmville, Va.

In that contest, redshirt sophomore Paige Britton notched a career-high six goals, while Liberty distanced itself from Longwood with a 13-0 run spanning the tail end of the first half and most of the second half.

The Lady Flames and Lancers have never met in a postseason match.

Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship History
Liberty is 2-4 all-time in the Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship. Both of those victories came in 2015, when the Lady Flames advanced to the title game that year.

This year's No. 1 seed High Point won back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. Winthrop, the No. 3 seed, will be looking for its third straight title, after winning the conference championship in 2015 and 2016.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
The Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) will be broadcasting Saturday afternoon's contest in Lynchburg on the Big South Network. Find the link for the live video stream on the lacrosse schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

Live stats for the contest will be available on the lacrosse schedule/results panel. Also, be sure to follow @LUGameday on Twitter for updates from the Liberty Lacrosse Field and for live in-game updates throughout the 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship.

If the Lady Flames advance past the quarterfinal round, their May 5 semifinal match will be streamed live on the Big South network. The championship match will be carried live on ESPN3 on May 7.

Big South Regular Season Recap
Big South Conference tames concluded regular season competition, last Saturday. Here's a look at the final regular season standings:

Team Conference Overall
High Point 7-0 13-3
Campbell 6-1 9-7
Winthrop 5-2 8-9
Liberty 4-3 5-12
Longwood 3-4 7-10
Radford 2-5 6-10
Presbyterian 1-6 2-14
Gardner-Webb 0-7 0-17

Liberty defeated Longwood, Radford, Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb during the regular season. The Lady Flames lost a 12-11 overtime contest against Campbell on April 8 and also fell to High Point and Winthrop in league play.

Liberty was well-represented in the Big South Weekly Awards. Kayla Foster was tabbed the Big South Women's Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 14, while Hannah Quast collected Big South Freshman of the Week honors on that same day.

Sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Widrick was voted as the Big South Women's Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week on April 4, while midfielder Carly White was named the Big South Freshman of the Week on April 11.                                  

Lady Flames News and Notes

  • Liberty is No. 4 in the country in ground balls per game (23.47) and No. 5 in caused turnovers per game (12.29). The Lady Flames are first and second in the Big South in the two categories.
  • Foster paces the squad in assists (31, No. 27 in nation) and points (57). She is tied for fourth in the conference in assists per game (1.82). Foster (108 career points) needs seven more points to move into fifth place all-time in school history for total points. The Sewickley, Pa., native is No. 1 in program history in career assists per game (1.71).
  • The Lady Flames averaged 14.43 goals per game in seven Big South Conference regular season contests.
  • Sophomore midfielder Brianna McCaffrey leads Liberty in goals (31), draw controls (75) and shots (103). McCaffrey is fifth in the conference and 37th nationally in draw controls per game (4.41) and third in the conference in shots per game (6.06).
  • Liberty senior defender Victoria Tickle paces the team with 50 ground balls and is 29th in DI in ground balls per game (2.94) and third in the Big South. Tickle is seventh all-time in program history with 99 ground balls and seventh in caused turnovers (55).
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Widrick places fourth in the Big South in goals-against average (13.03) and fourth in save percentage (.390). She has 98 saves this season and is third all-time in Liberty lacrosse history with 190 saves.
  • Liberty freshmen have performed well for the Lady Flames, this spring. Carly White paces the first-year group with 21 goals and 36 points, while Grace Fletcher (17) Hannah Quast (11), Jenna Joyal (8) and Nikki Stumpf (5) have all made their marks as first-year players.
  • Redshirt sophomore Paige Britton and McCaffrey each have seven free-position goals this season, the sixth-most for any player in a single season in school history. Britton has notched all seven of her free-position tallies in the last six games while scoring 15 total goals in that span.

Scouting Longwood
Three Longwood freshmen have eclipsed 40 points this year, led by Kaitlin Luccarelli's team-best 50 points (35 g, 15 a). Molly Barkman (25 g, 18 a, 43 pts) and Lexi Davis (10 g, 33 a, 43 pts) are the other two freshmen over 40 points, while sophomore Stephanie Roberts leads head coach Elaine Jones' squad with 40 goals, tied for sixth-most in the Big South. Davis is third in the Big South and 33rd in the country in assists per game (2.06)

The Lancers are most proficient in shot percentage (.496, No. 3 in nation), assists (7.35/game, No. 12 in nation) and ground balls (20.12/game, No. 28 in nation). Davis ranks No. 5 in the nation in shot percentage (.625).

Goalkeeper Imani West (6-8, 14.74 GAA, .411 SV Pct.) is 42nd in DI with 130 total saves and leads the squad with 42 ground balls.

How Liberty Stacks Up Against the Other Big South Teams in the Championship

No. 1 High Point
The Panthers enter the Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship riding the nation's second-longest winning streak, 13 games. High Point topped Liberty, 25-7, on April 15 in Lynchburg. The Panthers are fourth in the nation in caused turnovers per game (12.44), fifth in points (23.56), assists (8.06) and shots per game (35.75), sixth in scoring offense (15.50) 10th in scoring margin (5.75) and 12th in ground balls per game (21.63).

Key offensive players: Samantha Brown (48 g, 18 a, 66 pts), Brooke Stevens (34 g, 26 a, 60- pts), Darla Poulin (41 g, 17 a, 58 pts)
Key defensive players: Erica Perrotta (30 g, 22 a, 52 pts, 38 gb, 28 ct), Christina Del Sesto (34 gb, 25 ct)
Goalkeeper: Jill Rall (12-0, 8.09 GAA, 70 SV, .407 SV Pct.)

No. 2 Campbell
The Camels are known for their prowess in the draw circle and for limiting turnovers. Campbell wins 14.88 draw controls per game, good for 11th-best in the country. The Camels only commit 15.81 turnovers per game, which is 25th lowest in DI.

In the two teams' regular-season matchup, Liberty took an 11-10 lead on a White goal with 56.5 ticks remaining on April 8, before Campbell scored the equalizer with 27 seconds left and eventual overtime winner 2:07 into the extra session for a 12-11 victory.

Key offensive players: Kayla Reilly (26 g, 38 a, 64 pts), Melissa Placek (42 g, 11 a, 53 pts), Mackenzie Koeller (34 g, 9 a, 43 pts)
Key defensive players: Amanda Chasin (30 gb, 14 ct), Erin O'Hara (23 gb, 11 ct)
Goalkeeper: Merredith Bechler: (8-5, 12.31 GAA, 109 SV, .394 SV Pct.)

No. 3 Winthrop
Winthrop, the two-time defending Big South Champion, closed regular season play on a five-game winning streak, including victories over Gardner-Webb and Liberty, last week. The Eagles defeated the Lady Flames, 18-13, last Saturday at Eagle Stadium in Rock Hill, S.C.

The Eagles boast one of the top scorers in the nation in Nicole Beatson. Beatson is 17th in the country with 51 goals and seventh in the nation with 82 points while ranking No. 1 in free-position percentage (.826). Winthrop was 9-of-11 in free-position shots against Liberty in the regular-season meeting.

Key offensive players: Nicole Beatson (51 g, 31 a, 82 pts, 46 dc), Katherine Judge (40 g, 92 dc), Kristen Shriver (31 g, 28 a, 59 pts)
Key defensive players: Katherine Judge (45 gb, 33 ct) Chloe Wormsley (47 gb, 8 ct)
Goalkeeper: Chloe Wormsley (7-9, 12.18 GAA, 107 SV, .341 SV Pct.)

No. 6 Radford
The Lady Flames topped the Highlanders, 13-10, on Senior Night at the Liberty Lacrosse Field, April 19. On that night, Brown led Liberty with three goals, while senior Victoria Tickle anchored the defense with six caused turnovers and six ground balls.

The Highlanders are second in the Big South in both scoring offense (13.25) and ground balls per game (22.00) while ranking 29th and 9th in the nation in those categories.

Key offensive players: Emma Rogers (47 g, 18 a, 65 pts), Lindsay Carroll (23 g, 37 a, 60 pts), Callie Bonnel (34 g, 8 a, 42 pts)
Key defensive players: Shea Swingle (43 gb, 27 ct), Emily Kowalik (39 gb, 15 ct)
Goalkeepers: Jenny Davis (4-5, 13.08 GAA, 105 SV, .491 SV Pct.), Maddie Mashewske (2-5, 15.26 GAA, 67 SV, .364 SV Pct.)