Seniors Hillary Baker, Cammille Little and Kristin Crowley took an exciting victory on their Senior Day.
In a seesaw battle that featured 12 ties and five lead changes, the Liberty women's lacrosse team pulled off a 22-21 overtime victory against Presbyterian College, Sunday afternoon, in a National Lacrosse Conference match up at Liberty Lacrosse Field. Prior to the opening draw, Liberty honored its three seniors – Hillary Baker, Kristin Crowley and Cammille Little – as they played in the final home game of their careers.
The game also served as Liberty's participation in the NLC's Cancer Awareness Week, with both teams wearing special t-shirts. An informational booth for the American Cancer Society was also set up to take donations.
Looking to close her class' home career with a victory, Crowley knotted the game, 20-20, with just six seconds remaining in regulation as she converted a free-position shot for Liberty (3-9, 2-2 NLC). The Colorado Springs, Colo., native then set up teammate Candice Parsons for a go-ahead goal in the first three-minute frame of overtime.
Presbyterian College's (1-13, 0-4 NLC) Catherine Ellis netted her game-high seventh goal on the afternoon shortly after, squaring the game at 21, 32 seconds before the teams traded ends.
With just over a minute remaining in overtime, freshman Sam Struss scored her 10th goal of the season to put the Lady Flames ahead for good, with Amber Nichols providing her second assist of the afternoon.
While the visiting Blue Hose grabbed the ensuing draw control, Chloe McIntosh's third caused turnover of the game allowed Hillary Bullock to grab the ground ball and regain possession for the Lady Flames with approximately 30 seconds remaining. The Blue Hose had one last possession after a Liberty shot, but did not have time to fire off another scoring attempt.
With the victory, Liberty claimed its first win over Presbyterian College as the Blue Hose had taken the previous two meetings. Additionally, the win is Liberty's first at its new home turf on East Campus, Liberty Lacrosse Field. It is the program's first overtime victory since its inaugural season, when Liberty downed Howard, 17-16 for the program's first-ever win.
Liberty goalkeeper Kristen Masullo recorded the victory to improve to 3-9 on the year. The sophomore recorded 11 saves, including turning away a free-position shot in overtime. Starting goalie Samantha Arey takes the loss to fall to 0-6 for the Blue Hose. Susan England also logged time in PC's defeat, but Arey closed the game in goal.
Liberty featured a very balanced scoring attack, led by Crowley and Nina Dunay with four apiece. Struss added three, including the game winner, while five Lady Flames – Morgan Becker, Kacie Fogle, Jen Freymond, Nichols and Parsons – all found the back of the net twice. Caroline Milwicz provided one, as well. Six of Liberty's goals featured an assist, led by Nichols and Dunay's two apiece.
Presbyterian College was paced by Ellis' seven goals, while Kelsey Rupsch provided support with five of her own. Five more Blue Hose added a goal apiece, and two others scored a pair on the afternoon. Seven of the visitors' goals were assisted, led by two helpers from Ellis and Katie Prisco.
PC jumped out to a 3-0 lead through 4:26 of play, but the three-goal advantage would be the largest either team would hold during the afternoon.
The Lady Flames responded after head coach Regan Denham called for a timeout, reeling off six of the game's next seven goals, to grab a 6-4 edge with 11:09 remaining in the first half.
However, the visitors posted a stretch of five straight goals – including two man-up opportunities – to take another three goal lead, 10-7, with 1:58 left in the half. Both man-up scores were made after yellow cards from Emily Dinsmore, forcing the Lady Flames to play more than 42 minutes without one of their key defensive players.
Fogle pulled Liberty back to within two, less than a minute later with the half's final goal, as PC took a 10-8 lead at intermission.
The second half alone saw eight ties as neither team claimed offensive control in the game.
After PC took a three goal lead early on, Liberty claimed seven of the next nine goals to move ahead, 15-13. In response, PC scored four of the next six, squaring the game at 17 with 11:55 left in regulation. A Nichols goal gave Liberty the lead, 19-18, at 10:21, but PC clamored back once again with two more scores of its own to hold a 20-19 advantage with 7:32 on the clock.
The Blue Hose stalled off a large amount of time, but Crowley eventually forced a turnover and grabbed the ground ball to gain possession with 1:19 to go. PC goalie Arey saved a Struss shot, but threw the ball away in the clear attempt. Liberty regained possession, leading to Crowley's game-tying goal which forced overtime, and led to the Lady Flames' win.
Liberty earned the win despite being outshot slightly, 41-38. The Blue Hose also took the draw control battle, 25-22, thanks in part to a 13-6 advantage in the first half. Liberty grabbed 16 draws between the second half and overtime, while Fogle set a new program record by snagging nine draw controls in the game.
Liberty picked up 27 ground balls to PC's 23. McIntosh led Liberty with six ground balls, while PC's Ellis and Lauren Lefeber matched the game-high of six, as well. Freymond had four ground balls playing midfield for Liberty, and recorded a game-high four caused turnovers.
PC was called for 40 fouls, to Liberty's 25. The Lady Flames benefitted from fouls on their offensive end, posting six goals on 12 free-position shots. The Blue Hose were just 2-for-6 in free-position opportunities.
Continuing its NLC slate, the Lady Flames will hit the road next weekend to face High Point on Friday at 6 p.m. and Davidson, Sunday at 1 p.m.