The 2011 Liberty women's soccer team officially kicked off its fall practice schedule on Wednesday.
Head coach Jessica Hain's team went 8-10-3 overall last season, including 4-5 in Big South play for a sixth-place conference finish. The Lady Flames, who return 22 players from their 2010 squad, were recently picked to finish fifth in the Big South this year.
This year's team will feature the top two goal scorers from the 2010 campaign, Aimee Luurtsema (13 goals) and Silvia Betancourt (eight goals). Also returning are the Lady Flames' top two assist leaders, in Madison Short (eight assists) and Luurtsema (five assists).
Ariana Espinoza, a second-team All-Big South pick in 2010, returns to anchor Liberty's defense. Additionally, goalkeeper Karen Blocker will be back in 2011 after missing the entire 2010 season due to injury. She was a first-team All-Big South performer in 2009 with a 1.16 GAA.
The Lady Flames will open their season with a challenging road match, Aug. 26 at Virginia. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 10 nationally to open the 2011 season. Liberty will then play the first of its 10 home matches Aug. 29, when Longwood visits Osborne Stadium at 7 p.m.
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