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Lady Flames Lacrosse Runs Win Streak to 3 With Comeback Victory at ODU

February 28, 2018  Norfolk, Va.  RSS
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Toscano notched a hat trick in Wednesday's 14-12 win at ODU.

Toscano notched a hat trick in Wednesday's 14-12 win at ODU.

Liberty women's lacrosse ran its winning streak to three games with a come-from-behind 14-12 victory at Old Dominion, Wednesday at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex.

Liberty (4-1) fell behind 4-0, trailed 8-4 late in the first half and 8-6 at halftime, before outscoring Old Dominion (1-2), 8-4, in the second half.

Sophomore Carly White (team-high four goals) gave the Lady Flames their first lead with 19:43 left in the game (10-9), and freshman Anna Keebler netted what proved to be the game-winning goal with 12:31 left.

Liberty closed on a 3-1 run over the final 12:31, capped off by markers from White (5:47 remaining) and McCaffrey (3:21 remaining).

Leading 14-12 with just over a minute to play, Liberty's Kayla Foster won the draw and faced heavy pressure. Foster sent a pass over to Claire Bratchie, who remained composed, raced into the Monarchs' zone, and helped the visitors run out the clock for the win.

The Lady Flames are 4-1 for the first time in program history. The victory on Wednesday was Liberty's first-ever triumph over Old Dominion in its fourth attempt.

"Today's game revealed a lot about girls' character and resilience. We did not have a great start, but our girls battled through it and played for 60 minutes to get the win," stated Liberty head coach Kelly Nangle. "I am prouder every day of this group and their selflessness and commitment to our mission and each other. We are excited to get back to work and prepare for a great Richmond team."

Liberty freshman Mia Toscano delivered three goals in the comeback effort. All three of her tallies came during a 5-1 Lady Flames run, spanning the end of the first half and start of the second. Her third goal of the day knotted the score at 9-9 with 20:48 remaining. McCaffrey and Foster each scored two times in the win, while Michaela Rich and Abby Britton added goals.

Old Dominion's Brooke Stein led all players with a game-high eight points (three goals, five assists). The Monarchs' Sophia Richie scored four times for the hosts.

A critical component of Liberty's victory was its distinct 21-7 advantage in the draw circle, aided by Foster's career-best-matching eight draws. White set a career high with seven draw controls for the Lady Flames.

Liberty junior goalkeeper Katherine Widrick improved to 2-0 with a two-save effort in the second half. Fellow junior netminder Aubrie Tarris played the first half in goal for the Lady Flames, making five saves. ODU's Lauren Ey made 12 saves and surrendered 14 goals in a losing effort.

Liberty dug itself an early 4-0 hole during the game's first 8:10. Goals from the Monarchs' Ryann Bauer, Ritchie, Cydney Tutchton and Stein staked the hosts to the aforementioned four-goal lead.

After failing to possess the ball much for the first 15-plus minutes of the contest, the Lady Flames finally broke through with 12:38 left in the opening half on a goal from Rich. Sixteen seconds later, White scored her first of the day, trimming the deficit to two (4-2).

However, the home side bumped its advantage up to four again, 8-4, with a 4-2 run. Much of the Monarch offense in the opening stanza ran through Stein, who consistently circled behind the cage and found open cutters. Glory Johnson closed out Old Dominion's run with her first goal of the season on Stein's fourth assist of the contest, making the score 8-4.

Shortly after entering the game late in the first half, senior Abby Britton scored her fourth goal of the season with 1:46 remaining. At the 1:08 mark, Toscano netted her first goal of the day, slicing the deficit to two, 8-6. The Monarchs possessed the ball deep in the Liberty zone as time wound down, drawing a free-position attempt in the process. The Lady Flames' defense stood its ground, chasing Old Dominion out of the eight-meter arc to end the half with the same 8-6 score.

The Monarchs' Katie Miller scored 2:34 into the second half to bolster the home lead to three (9-6). Over the next 11:20, Liberty surged into the lead with a 5-0 run. McCaffrey started the scoring, collecting a ground ball following a Foster shot and firing a strike from in close past ODU goalkeeper Ey. The Liberty junior's goal closed the gap to two (9-7) with 26:37 on the clock.

After the Monarchs were assessed a green card, Toscano notched her second goal of the match on a feed from Foster. Less than a minute after the freshman's goal, she struck again. This time, White found Toscano to tie the game at 9-9 with 20:15 left. With 19:43 remaining, White carved through the Monarchs' defense and scored her third marker for Liberty's first lead of the game, 10-9.

The Lady Flames' Foster scored on a free-position attempt, extending the Liberty edge to 11-9 with 16:16 left. Old Dominion responded two goals in a 19-second span (Natalie Ledwitz and Stein) to even the game at 11-11 with 14:32 to go.

The goals from Keebler, White and McCaffrey provided Liberty a three-goal cushion in the waning minutes. McCaffrey's goal came following a bad pass from Ryann Bauer in the midfield. The junior midfielder raced up the field, entered the eight-meter arc and fired a left-handed shot into the right side of the net past Ey.

Liberty outshot Old Dominion, 38-25, in the game and 22-9 in the second half. Old Dominion collected 23 ground balls, compared to 22 for Liberty. The Lady Flames, who entered Wednesday as the No. 7 team in the nation in caused turnovers, had 16 more in the game.

Alyssa Sebesto scooped up a game-high six ground balls to go along with four caused turnovers for the Monarchs, while the Lady Flames' Toscano collected a team-best five ground balls. McCaffrey, the Big South Defensive Player of the Week, paced Liberty with four caused turnovers and added a pair of ground balls. Senior Lindsey McNamara generated a season-high three caused turnovers. 

The Lady Flames will be back in action on Saturday at Richmond (2-1). The game will begin at 1 p.m. at Robins Stadium in Richmond, Va.