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2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship Preview

November 1, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Week 11 Field Hockey Notes 
2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship Tournament Central 

The Liberty field hockey team's journey for a BIG EAST crown starts on Friday, as the Lady Flames take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in a semifinal contest.

Friday's contest will begin at 4 p.m. at Lennon Family Field in Providence, R.I. Providence will be serving as the host for this year's BIG EAST Tournament.

The Lady Flames (7-10) finished the regular season with a 5-2 mark in the conference for the second straight year, earning the No. 2 seed for the 2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship. Liberty earned the No. 2 seed over the ODU Monarchs (8-9, 5-2 BIG EAST) by virtue of their 3-1 victory over ODU on Sept. 29.

No. 1 seed UConn (17-0, 7-0 BIG EAST) and No. 4 seed and tournament host Providence (11-7, 4-3 BIG EAST) will meet in Friday's other semifinal showdown at 1 p.m.

The winners of both matches will play in the title game on Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Each game during the tournament will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network via Fox Sports Go. Download the Fox Sports Go app on your mobile device or tablet to watch the action. The games may also be viewed on desktop or laptop computer at www.FOXSportsGo.com. The app is not supported internationally. However, those watching outside the games via the internet at www.FoxSportsGo.com.

Find the link for the live stream on the field hockey schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

Live statistics, courtesy of Providence Athletic Media Relations, will be available for the duration of the championship. Find the link for stats on the field hockey schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

Also, be sure to follow Liberty Field Hockey on Twitter (@LibertyFH) for live in-game updates from Lennon Family Field.   

BIG EAST Championship History
In its inaugural season in the BIG EAST in 2016, Liberty qualified for the BIG EAST Field Championship with a 5-2 mark, earning the No. 2 seed.

In the semifinals, hosted by Temple, the Lady Flames' Bethany Barr scored in the 63rd minute to lift Liberty past Providence, 1-0. Liberty faced No. 1 seed UConn in the title game. The Lady Flames nearly overcame a 3-0 deficit, before falling, 3-2.

BIG EAST Regular Season Recap
The Lady Flames finished 5-2 in the BIG EAST for a second straight season. Liberty's conference wins came over Old Dominion, Providence, Villanova, Georgetown and Temple, while the Lady Flames fell to UConn and Quinnipiac. Liberty recorded three shutouts during its conference slate (Providence, Villanova and Georgetown).

Liberty sophomore Agueda Moroni and freshman Jill Bolton both collected BIG EAST honors throughout the fall. Moroni was a two-time BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week and four-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selection. Bolton earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week accolades on two occasions (Oct. 23, Oct. 30).

Sophomore goalkeeper Allison Schaefer is now the Liberty field hockey program leader for career saves. Last Friday at Temple, Schaefer's first save of the match was her 207th career save, moving her past Mallory Cuccio (206 saves, 2012-15). Schaefer added nine more stops against No. 6 UNC on Sunday and now has 218 for her career.

Team Conference Overall
No. 1 UConn 7-0 17-0
Liberty 5-2 7-10
Old Dominion 5-2 8-9
Providence 4-3 11-7
Villanova 3-4 7-10
Quinnipiac 3-4 6-12
Georgetown 1-6 8-10
Temple 0-7 4-14

 

Lady Flames News and Notes

  • Agueda Moroni is among the nation's leaders in goals per game (No. 7, 1.06) and points per game (No. 8, 2.43). She leads the Lady Flames in goals (18), assists (7) and points (43). Moroni scored nine goals in seven BIG EAST regular-season games, this fall.
  • Liberty has outscored its opponents, 43-39, this year and 18-7 in BIG EAST play.
  • Allison Schaefer is 26th in the country in saves per game (5.53) and 41st in save percentage (.712).
  • Liberty's schedule thus far this season has been the seventh-hardest slate in the country. The Lady Flames' opponents have a combined 174-105 (.624) record.
  • The Lady Flames are third in the BIG EAST in goals-against-average (2.27) and third in goals per game (2.47).
  • Jill Bolton paces Liberty freshmen in goals (9), assists (5), points (23) and shots (42).
  • Senior Summer Parker led Liberty upperclassmen in goals (3) in BIG EAST competition. She is tied for third on the team in points (8) during her final campaign.
  • Freshman defender Ashley Dykema notched her first career goal, last Sunday vs. No. 6 North Carolina.
  • The Lady Flames drew their first two penalty strokes of the season in last weekend's contests against Temple and No. 6 UNC. Moroni converted on both opportunities.
  • Five different Liberty players have tallied game-winning goals: Agueda Moroni (2), Victoria O'Keeffe (2), Jill Bolton (1), Alynn Richardson (1) and Moniek van Aarle (1).

 

Thoughts from the Players
"I'm excited to play ODU on Friday, and I know both teams will come out hard and ready for a fight. The strength of schedule that we have had this year has been preparing us for this weekend. Being able to play and compete with the top teams in the country is able to give us confidence for the weekend. My freshman year, we were able to extend our season when we won the NorPac Championship, and I would love to end my career with another championship!"
Senior Midfielder Cassidy Bremner

"We are so excited to take on ODU this weekend. As a team, we have been focusing on the BIG EAST Tournament all year, and it's awesome to have seen our hard work pay off. This year, we have played a lot of top-10 teams, which has really helped prepare us for this Friday. I can't wait to go out there and play Liberty field hockey."
Senior Defender Alynn Richardson

No. 3 Seed Old Dominion
The Monarchs received the No. 3 seed after a 2-0 victory over Providence, last Friday. Erin Huffman leads the ODU attack with 11 goals and 23 points. Old Dominion is 19th in the country in assists per game (2.35), paced by Cameran Nery-Strickland with 10 assists.

Kealsie Robles (4-6, 2.58 GAA, 60 SV) and Lacey Frazier (4-3, 2.30 GAA, 31 SV) have both seen significant time in the goal cage for the Monarchs and fifth-year head coach Andrew Griffiths.

No. 1 Seed UConn
The Huskies will be looking for their sixth straight BIG EAST Championship crown. UConn is the only remaining unbeaten team in the country at 17-0. The Huskies are No. 1 in the country in goals per game (5.00), assists per game (4.94), goals-against-average (0.58), points per game (14.94), scoring average (4.95) and scoring margin (4.37).

The Huskies, who are coached by 28th-year head coach Nancy Stevens, have outscored their foes, 85-10, this season. Charlotte Veitner, who is No. 1 in the nation in goals per game (1.69) and points per game (4.06), leads the team with 27 goals and 65 points.

Casey Umstead (13 g, 16 a, 42 pts), Amanda Collins (10 g, 17 pts, 37 pts) and Margot van Hecking Colenbrander (14 g, 8 a, 36 pts) are all imposing offensive threats as well. Nina Klein (17-0, 0.59 GAA, 42 SV) will handle the goalkeeping duties for UConn. Klein has nine shutouts to her credit.

No. 4 Seed Providence
The Friars garnered the No. 4 seed for the tournament on the basis of a 4-3 league mark. Manon van Weezel (4 g, 5 a, 13 pts) and Mikayla Michals (5 g, 2 a, 12 pts) lead the Providence attack. The Friars have identical marks in scoring average (1.77) and goals-against-average (1.77).

Goalkeeper Megan Guilbert (11-7, 1.87 GAA, 80 SV) is No. 33 in the country in goals-against-average and has three shutouts.