Senior defender Chloe McIntosh
In preparation for the program's third season of competition, the Liberty women's lacrosse team recently concluded its fall playdays. The schedule consisted of three dates where the Lady Flames faced multiple opponents and a single day of competition with Longwood.
While the fall season is certainly used to reacquaint teammates and provide insight into how the team may fare come spring, Liberty is looking forward to the spring itself to tell more about the upcoming 2012 season.
According to head coach Regan Denham, a lot of positives were taken from the fall competition, but more time will show the team's potential, due to a large freshman class as well as injuries holding out several key returning players.
Denham reported that the squad's fall playday at George Mason was a big day for the team, as it provided competition against some tough NCAA Division I teams. Matching up with programs such as American, George Washington, Temple, and UMBC gave the freshmen a good chance to experience the level of lacrosse they will be competing at.
Despite Liberty heading toward its third year of competition, the Lady Flames will once again have a young team in 2012, as two-thirds of the roster is comprised of underclassmen.
With 10 freshmen, many have been able to show their skills this fall and will aim to make an immediate impact.
Karly Walborn—younger sister of 2011 leading scorer Karis Walborn—and Kristin Boland are each first-year student-athletes who can make instant contributions to the team.
"Karly seems to get more energy the more we run," commented Denham. "She's really aggressive and dominant in the midfield."
"Kristin (Boland) really stepped up, became vocal and took charge, leading the defense as a goalie. I was impressed with her ability to lead as a freshman," reported Denham.
The goalkeeper position will be one spot which will be settled in the spring.
"Kristen Masullo had a really great freshman season—earning first team National Lacrosse Conference honors—and Boland has a lot of good experience from high school," remarked Denham. "They basically shared time all fall, and split the games."
Aside from the process of inserting freshmen into the lineup, injuries have not allowed the team to see its full potential for the 2012 season.
Nina Dunay and Chloe McIntosh are two impact players who have missed time this fall, but are expected to be ready to compete come spring. Dunay led the Lady Flames in scoring last year before suffering a season-ending injury (21 goals in six games), while McIntosh, a two-time captain, will once again serve as the team's "defensive anchor," according to Denham.
With the fall complete, the Lady Flames now wait for January when practices start once again. However, Denham already has a plan for what her team will work on in preparation for the 2012 slate.
"Our offense will still be working on playing together, especially in terms of chemistry. They got a chance this fall to play, but looking forward to the spring, they just need more time playing together. We have a lot of freshmen that are going to be starting and they just aren't used to playing together yet."
On the defensive side, new folds may be thrown into the mix, as well.
"We started playing a backer defense as one of our defensive sets. It's definitely something that we're still working on, but it was great to try out in the fall. We'll continue with it as an option for us besides our helping man defense that we play," concluded Denham.
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