The Liberty women's lacrosse team is set for its opening contest of 2012, Wednesday, when No. 3 North Carolina visits the Hill City. The Lady Flames' home and season opener is also their first official game on their new turf field, located on Liberty's Campus East. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.
As the team embarks upon the third season in program history, LibertyFlames.com's Nick Pierce caught up with head coach Regan Denham, along with captains Chloe McIntosh and Jen Moyer.
Denham recaps the Lady Flames' practice so far this season, mentioning how the team has made some tactical changes and filtered in a number of freshmen into the rotation. The third-year head coach also looks back on how it has been to build a program, talks about facing the Tar Heels and explains her outlook for the year.
Senior and third-year captain McIntosh talks about how her role has adjusted during her career at Liberty, and her experience on both sides of the lacrosse field. The Dallas, Texas, native also gives insight on facing North Carolina and provides her expectations for 2012.
Sophomore captain Moyer also provides expectations for the year and talks about the youth of the team, before concluding with thoughts on the team's first game of the season.
The Lady Flames return 17 players from last year's squad, which helped post a six-win improvement over the program's inaugural season. Among those 17 returnees are last year's top 10 point scorers. Karis Walborn and Kristin Crowley led the way with 40 and 31 goals, respectively, while Moyer wasn't far behind, chipping in 26 goals in 2011.
Also returning is goalkeeper Kristen Masullo. The Berkeley Heights, N.J., native posted a National Lacrosse Conference (NLC)-best .473 save percentage last season, which also ranked 14th nationally. Masullo was named to the NLC All-Conference first team in 2011, and was recently named to the NLC's Preseason All-Conference Team for 2012.
The Lady Flames will also look for production from their eight freshmen in 2012, in addition to several players who missed much of last season due to injury.
North Carolina will come to Liberty with a 1-0 record, after defeating No. 4 Florida, 11-9, in its season opener last weekend. Kara Cannizzaro led the Tar Heels with four goals, while Abbey Friend chipped in three goals of her own. The Tar Heels have been a perennial power behind the leadership of 16th-year head coach Jenny Levy and have made three consecutive NCAA Semifinal appearances.
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