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Tears of Commitment and Character

February 25, 2009  Lynchburg, Va  RSS
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Moriah Frazee is one of seven seniors who will be recognized prior to Saturday night's game against UNC Asheville, as part of Senior Night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center.

Moriah Frazee is one of seven seniors who will be recognized prior to Saturday night's game against UNC Asheville, as part of Senior Night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center.

Expectations that others have for you are tough to live up to. The thing about sports is that those expectations are out where everyone can see them - from fans to coaches to teammates. But those expectations rise to a much higher level when an elite athlete, one with a drive that most cannot see or understand, evaluates their own performance.

Her team had won the night before by a very comfortable 27 points and she exhibited a big smile that lit her face up like one of your children on Christmas morning as she related how a 23-point halftime lead had come about. But the mood swung in a totally different direction as Moriah Frazee looked back at her own performance during the Flames' seventh consecutive victory.

"I really did not have a very good game," said a pensive Frazee. "It seemed like I was a step too slow and a little short on everything I tried to do. This was one of the worst games of my career, but we won big as a team and that is what means the most to me.

"It is frustrating when I make a mistake," she explained with a tear beginning to slide down her cheek. "But the only thing I can do is keep going, try again and do better next time. What I did last time is not going to help my team, but what I do next time will. That is what I have to use for motivation as the game goes on."

And make no mistake about the quality of play that this elite athlete expects of herself. She is currently averaging double figures in scoring on the Big South's number one team. The forward leads her squad in three-point percentage and her field goals made this season are second only to her sister Megan by two made shots.

By the time her career ends, she will be among the top players in program history for points and rebounds. And in case you are not aware of the stellar status of the team upon which Moriah is making her imprint, remember that this is one of the elite programs in all of college women's basketball after winning 11 of the last 12 conference titles and residing solidly in first place again on the quest for the next conference title.

Earlier in this homestand, Frazee became the 12th player in program history to attain status as a 1,000-point scorer. She has already surpassed 500 career rebounds this season and will rank among the top 10 by the end of this season, her final campaign.

"I have had a slow start this year," said the youngest of Liberty's famed triplets, with the tears rolling freely on both cheeks at this point. "Coming back from my ACL tear has been one of my biggest challenges. I am not as quick as I used to be, and it has taken me quite a bit of time to get back to where I was last season.

"But I think I am about back to that point. Now I have to work every day to be better. Every practice, I have that goal in mind. We still have a lot of games to win this year and I want to be a big part of that. I do not have to score (although that is nice to do) for us to be successful, but I do have to rebound well and pass well and handle my defensive assignment the way coach tells us to play."

Last season was a breakout year for Moriah. She averaged almost double her career scoring average, while starting all 26 games she played. The part she liked the best were the times that all three sisters were able to play in the game together. That thrill came to a premature end when she suffered an ACL tear that would require every bit of the next nine months to rehabilitate.

Ironically, it was a knee injury that cut short the freshman season for her oldest sister, Megan. And during preseason preparation for their senior seasons, Molly suffered a knee injury that has taken away her senior campaign. There will be no opportunity for the three to play on the floor together again, but their lives will go on to great success.

"This has been very difficult for Molly," said Moriah of her sister. "She is having a much more difficult time than either of us did; she is going to miss a whole season. I only missed six games. She is there with us every practice and game, but all she can do is sit and watch. No team drills. No playing time. It gets pretty boring for her. But her rehab is going well and she will make a full recovery."

These two sisters are following a similar path as nursing majors, while Megan is majoring in kinesiology. Following this semester's class load, Molly and Moriah will have only one semester remaining to complete their degrees. Their career paths seem to be dividing, as Molly leans toward a specialty in the area of pediatrics and Moriah seems to be moving toward some aspect of pulmonary care, but she is keeping her options open still. Her current rotation at Lynchburg General Hospital will be in oncology.

"I already know that I will be doing an internship on the pulmonary floor this summer, but I am looking forward to the experience with oncology in a few weeks," says Moriah. "I also hope to be able to go on some type of medical mission trip before I get settled into my career. We have friends who are medical missionaries in Africa, and I really think I would like to do something like that."

The most interesting thing that Moriah exhibited as she explained herself with tears rolling down her cheeks, was the smile that spread across her face as she talked about all she was working for. You see, those were not tears of frustration nor of futility, rather they were tears of commitment and dedication. These are the kind of tears that tell an opponent about outstanding internal strength that will find a way to defeat them. They would be a lot better off if she didn't care so much.

But she does!

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Kevin Keys is an associate athletics director who graduated from Liberty in 1977. He was the first-ever sports information director for Liberty.