The Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse team defeated the visiting Winthrop Eagles 17-9 on Wednesday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field in a game which saw a record-setting performance from sophomore Morgan Learn in the draw circle.
Learn, who was making her first career start in the contest, set a new program record for draw controls in a game with 13. The midfielder from Goode, Va., corralled her 13th draw control of the match with 11:38 to play. Learn spearheaded the Lady Flames' efforts in the draw circle, allowing them to outdraw the visiting Eagles 23-5 on the afternoon. The sophomore's previous career best for draw controls was four, set last season versus Jacksonville.
Liberty improves to 2-2 in the year and is 2-0 at home this season. Meanwhile, Winthrop drops to 0-4.
On a day which saw the Lady Flames set a new season high for goals, Liberty junior attacker Anna Keebler scored six goals for a second straight game, becoming the only player in program history to ever score six goals in back-to-back contests.
Scoring Summary Liberty Goals: Anna Keebler 6, Jenna Joyal 3, Carly White 2, Leah Ruby 2, Mia Toscano 2, Grace Fletcher 2 Liberty Assists: Jenna Joyal 2, Andrea Colavito 1, Hannah Davis 1, Morgan Learn 1, Leah Ruby 1, Carly White 1 Winthrop Goals: Olivia Deaver 3, McKenna Block 2, Bianca Tedesco 1, Savannah Paton 1, Lauren Asher 1, Mia Creighton 1 Winthrop Assists: Bianca Tedesco 4, Lauren Asher 1, Savannah Paton 1
Goalkeepers W: Aubrie Tarris 2-1, one save L: Kelsey Johnson 0-4, 11 saves
Turning Point Liberty led Winthrop 6-5 late in the opening half, but the Lady Flames struck for three goals in the final 1:21 to take a 9-5 advantage into the break. Keebler's third goal of the afternoon, which featured the first career assist from freshman Hannah Davis, made it 7-5 Liberty at the 1:21 mark.
Senior Jenna Joyal ripped a free-position shot into the back of the net with 27 seconds to play to push the hosts' lead to 8-5. Just before the end of the half, Joyal found Mia Toscano for a goal with two seconds to play for a four-goal Lady Flames edge at the half, 9-5. Liberty went on to score the first five goals of the second half as well to surge ahead 14-5 with 19:54 remaining in the contest. During that stretch, Keebler scored her fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the day to bring her season total to 19.
Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle "I'm really proud of our team. We have a great balance of competitiveness and support which has created a very deep bench for us. We needed to call on a few girls tonight to step up and fill in where we needed them, and they responded in a big way. This group gets tougher and closer with every challenge and setback. Our resiliency is growing every game, and that is going to carry us very far as we get down the stretch. We have been able to take things from every game and build and grow from them. We are excited to get back to work and prepare for a very good Richmond team!"
First Half Summary • Liberty scored the first three goals of the game, coming off the sticks of Keebler, senior Carly White and sophomore Leah Ruby. Ruby scored the third and fourth goals of the game, with her second goal of the day putting the Lady Flames ahead 4-2 with 17:31 remaining. Ruby's two-goal effort was her second career multiple-goal contest.
• Liberty held a 13-2 advantage in draw controls in the opening 30 minutes, aided by 10 draw controls from Learn. The Lady Flames' defense also made things difficult on the Eagles by forcing 14 turnovers and generating 11 caused turnovers in the opening stanza. Liberty junior Mia Toscano had four of her game-high and career-high-matching five caused turnovers during the first half.
Second Half Summary • Liberty's biggest lead of the game was 16-6 following Jenna Joyal's third goal of the contest with 15:29 remaining. The Eagles' Olivia Deaver, who the visiting side with three goals, scored with 13:18 left to bring the Lady Flames' lead below 10 (16-7). • Lady Flames senior attacker Grace Fletcher notched her second goal of the match with 9:02 left. Winthrop's McKenna Blick found the back of the cage with 8:14 on the clock to trim the Liberty to 17-9. Neither team scored over the final 8:14. • Liberty dominated the draw control count 10-3 in the second half.
Key Stats & Notes • Learn's 13-draw control effort surpassed the previous program record of 12 draw controls, shared by Hope Flack (April 26, 2019 vs. Howard) and Morgan Becker (April 25, 2014 vs. Winthrop). The midfielder entered Wednesday's game with three draws in the first three games. She is now tied for second on the squad this season with 16 draw controls. • Liberty outshot Winthrop 38-13 in the game and held edges in ground balls (24-19) and caused turnovers (19-13). The Eagles struggled in clearing opportunities, converting just 16-of-30 attempts. Liberty went 10-of-11 in the clear. • The Lady Flames' 17 goals were their most in a game since scoring 18 goals in both 2019 ASUN Lacrosse Championship games. Liberty's eight-goal margin of victory was its largest since topping Coastal Carolina 18-8 on May 2, 2019 in the ASUN Championship semifinal round in Conway, S.C. • A total of 27 Liberty players saw playing time on Wednesday, including all three goalkeepers. Freshmen Tori Banks, Lucy Shimek and Randi Hess each made their collegiate debuts. Banks won her first draw control with 13:14 to go in the game. Sophomore defender Mikayla Coghill had a career-best two ground balls, while Alexa Evernham matched a career high with a pair of caused turnovers. • Senior Carly White had two goals to bring her career total to 97. The senior captain also added three ground balls, three draw controls and a caused turnover. • Liberty is now 4-6 all-time against Winthrop and has won the last two meetings. This is the Lady Flames' largest ever margin of victory over the Eagles.
Up Next • The Lady Flames will head to Richmond for a showdown against the Spiders (5-0), Saturday afternoon. First draw is slated for a 1 p.m. at Robins Stadium. Richmond topped No. 6 Virginia 13-12 on the road in double overtime on Wednesday evening. • The two programs last met in 2019, a narrow 10-9 Richmond victory at the Liberty Lacrosse Field. The Lady Flames are 0-6 all-time against the Spiders.