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No. 25 Liberty to Open Season at Home vs. No. 19 James Madison, Saturday

August 25, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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No. 25 Liberty opens the season at home against No. 19 JMU, Saturday at 1 p.m.

No. 25 Liberty opens the season at home against No. 19 JMU, Saturday at 1 p.m.

Week One Field Hockey Notes

The Liberty field hockey team will begin its 2017 campaign on its home turf against James Madison on Saturday at 1 p.m.  

The No. 25 Lady Flames and No. 19 Dukes will square off beginning at 1 p.m. in what will be the third meeting all-time between the two schools.

Liberty took the first meeting, 6-3, on Aug. 28, 2015 in Lynchburg, while JMU defeated Liberty, 3-2, in the 2016 season opener in Harrisonburg.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
The Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) will provide a live video stream of the game, carried on ESPN3. Find the link for the broadcast on the field hockey schedule/results panel. Live stats will be available for the match by clicking the appropriate link on the field hockey schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

Also, be sure to follow Liberty Gameday on Twitter (@LUGameday) for live in-game updates.

Lady Flames News and Notes

  • The Lady Flames were picked to finish second in the BIG EAST behind defending league champion Connecticut. Liberty is looking for its first BIG EAST title, after winning NorPac Conference titles in 2013 and 2014.
  • Liberty sophomore Agueda Moroni and junior Abby Julius garnered individual recognition by being voted to the preseason All-BIG EAST team.
  • Liberty returns 59.2 percent (29-of-49) of its goal scoring from a year ago. Agueda Moroni (10 goals) and Alynn Richardson (six goals) are the top two returners goal scorers.
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Allison Schaefer enters the season with 124 saves, needing 83 this year to surpass Mallory Cuccio (2012-15) for the all-time program mark for saves in a career.
  • JMU is one of nine preseason ranked opponents the Liberty field hockey squad will face in 2017. The Lady Flames will host the top four teams in the nation in Lynchburg, this season: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Delaware and No. 4 Connecticut. Liberty will face Delaware, which captured the 2016 NCAA Field Hockey Championship title, on Sept. 10.
  • Other ranked opponents the Lady Flames will face include: No. 6 Maryland (road), No. 11 Michigan (road), No. 15 Wake Forest (road) and No. 23 Old Dominion (home).
     

Liberty Field Hockey Team Breakdown
Liberty returns three All-BIG EAST selections from a year ago: sophomore Agueda Moroni (first team), junior Abby Julius (second team) and sophomore Allison Schaefer (second team).

Liberty also returns formidable attackers in sophomore Abby Julius (3 g, 4 a, 10 pts) and junior Alynn Richardson (4 g, 8 pts).

Other notable returners include junior defender Pippa Best (4 g, 1 a, 9 pts), sophomore defender Mallory Fortenbaugh (1 g, 4 a, 6 pts), senior defender Rachel Suter (1 g, 2 a, 4 pts) and senior midfielder Cassidy Bremner (3 a).

Goalkeeping duties will be the responsibility of Schaefer, senior Monica Hernick and freshman Kennedy Luke. Schaefer was last year's BIG EAST Freshman of the Year.

The Lady Flames welcomed in 10 new players to this year's squad. Transfer Greer Wilson will provide valuable experience in the midfield, while graduate student Moniek van Aarle will see significant time on the attacking line. Freshmen Jill Bolton, Ashley Dykema and Victoria O'Keeffe also figure to play prominent roles. First-year players Carolyn Haase, Alexis Paone, Jordyn Keller and Ali Raha will also provide valuable depth to the team.

Coaching Staff Close-Up

One year after joining Liberty's staff as an assistant coach, Nikki Parsley was named the program's second head coach on Jan. 16, 2017. Parsley served an assistant coach under Jodi Murphy during the 2016 season.

Parsley is joined by assistant coaches Jacki Bolt and Natalie Barr. Bolt, in her sixth season with the Lady Flames, returned to the program in March following one year as an assistant at William & Mary. Barr, who played for the Liberty field hockey squad from 2012-15, enters her second year as an assistant coach.

Scouting James Madison
James Madison enters Saturday's season opener ranked No. 19 in the NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll. Last season, the Dukes finished with a 13-7 record and 4-2 mark in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play. Their season ended with a 4-1 overtime loss to eventual national champion Delaware in the CAA title game.

The Dukes return their top five goal scorers from a year ago, led by junior forward/midfielder Miranda Rigg (16 g, 32 pts) and senior midfielder/forward Hannah Hall (11 g, 9 a, 31 pts). Senior goalkeeper Sara Kraeutler (13-7, 2.12 GAA) will likely be in net for JMU and 13th-year head coach Christy Morgan.

James Madison boasted the 10th-best goals per game average in the nation last year (3.25). Defensively, Florien Sondern placed 10th in the country with five defensive saves.