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Liberty Improves to 6-2 With 15-5 Victory at Arizona State, Tuesday

March 20, 2018  Tempe, Ariz.   RSS
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Liberty defeated Arizona State, 15-5, on Tuesday.

Liberty defeated Arizona State, 15-5, on Tuesday.

Liberty women's lacrosse ran away from Arizona State in the second half on Tuesday night at the Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium. The Lady Flames outscored the Sun Devils, 9-2, over the final 24:01 of the contest, leading to a 15-5 victory.

Liberty continues its best start in program history, improving to 6-2 on the season. The Lady Flames' victory is also their first-ever win over a Power 5 program in school history. Meanwhile, Arizona State (5-5) has dropped four straight following a 5-1 start to the year.

"This was a great team win for us. We came out strong and played for 60 minutes against a good Arizona State team," said Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle. "I'm proud of how hard we worked from start to finish. This team is getting better every game, and I'm proud of how they prepare and execute. Now we have to get to work to prepare for a good San Diego State team."

Liberty junior midfielder Brianna McCaffrey equaled a season high with a game-high four goals (all after halftime) to lead the Lady Flames' offensive efforts. Liberty's Jenna Joyal scored three goals, Michaela Rich added two goals and an assist and Kayla Foster matched a season high with four assists to go along with a goal. Lady Flames freshman Brooke Bryan and sophomore Molly Blake scored their first career goals in the game.

Arizona State's Kerri Clayton led the Sun Devils' offense with two goals and one assist. The Lady Flames outshot the Sun Devils, 42-15, on the evening.

Liberty goalkeepers Aubrie Tarris and Katherine Widrick split time evenly in net for the eighth consecutive game to start the season. Tarris (4-2) was credited with the win, making four saves in the first 30 minutes of the match. Widrick came on in relief for the final 30 minutes and made three saves. ASU netminder Berkeley Bonneau (5-5) made 14 saves on the night against 14 goals allowed and was credited with the loss.

Hannah Quast opened the scoring for Liberty in the first 50 seconds of the game, sending a shot into the back of the net following a Foster pass. Rich brought the Liberty lead to 2-0 with her first goal of the night with 24:58 left on the first half clock. The redshirt senior looped around the goal and fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net.

In the middle of the first half, the Lady Flames' Joyal took over with three goals just 4:05 apart from each other. Her first marker, a left-handed shot into the top left corner. Her next two tallies were assisted by freshman Anna Keebler and Foster, the second of which made it 5-1 Lady Flames with 11:47 remaining.

Rich added her second goal of the contest, a pretty one-timer, on a feed from Foster, at the 7:33 mark. Arizona State's Clayton and Emily Glagolev trimmed the home side's deficit to 6-3 at halftime with goals over the final 6:16 of the opening frame.

In the first 30 minutes, Liberty generated 10 caused turnovers, compared to only three for Arizona State. For the game, the Lady Flames possessed a 16-8 advantage over the Sun Devils, aided by four caused turnovers from McCaffrey. Liberty, who came into the game leading the nation in caused turnovers per game (13.14), also received two-caused turnover efforts from Sarah Steenson, Lindsey McNamara, Foster and Toscano.

Much like their effort last Tuesday against Butler in which they outscored the Bulldogs, 10-2, Liberty clicked in the second half with nine goals and swarming defense that only allowed two goals and 5-of-15 successful clear attempts (16-of-33 for the game).

The play that sparked the rest of the half for the Lady Flames was a key save by Widrick with 27:29 remaining. Still trailing 6-3, ASU had a fastbreak opportunity, with Avery Hamill racing towards the goal with possession of the ball. A composed Widrick snagged Hamill's scoring effort, keeping the Liberty lead at three goals.

Two upperclassmen, Foster and Rich, connected on the Lady Flames' first goal of the second stanza, with Foster finding twine with 24:01 remaining to make it 7-3. At the 19:35, McCaffrey began her stretch of four goals over the 10-plus minutes. Her first goal came on a pass from Quast in tight coverage, pushing the lead to 8-3 with 19:35 left.

Maddy Hunter scored a free-position tally with 14:13 left to slice the ASU deficit to 8-4. McCaffrey then went on to reel off three goals over the next 5:25, two coming on free-position attempts. The last goal, her team-leading 17th of 2018, extended the Liberty lead to 11-5 with 8:48 left.

Following McCaffrey's fourth goal, the Lady Flames closed the game on a 4-0 run, featuring goals from Big South Freshman of the Week Mia Toscano, Carly White, Bryan and Blake. Three of the four goals featured assists (Joyal, Foster and Quast). Bryan's goal with 3:08 remaining was a free-position score.

The Lady Flames, who lead the Big South in assists per game, had nine more on Tuesday.

In addition to their advantage in shots, Liberty collected 35 ground balls, compared to 21 for Arizona State. White paced the efforts for the Lady Flames with a career-high eight ground balls, which is tied for the sixth-most in a single game in Liberty lacrosse history.

Liberty held a 12-10 edge on ASU in the draw circle. Foster (Liberty) and Carley Adams (ASU) shared game-high honors with four draw controls.

With the win on Tuesday evening, Liberty has equaled last year's win total of six (6-13 in 2017), with two non-conference games remaining and conference play still yet to begin.

The Lady Flames will now head to San Diego, Calif., to face the San Diego Aztecs (7-3). First draw from the Aztec Lacrosse Field is set for 10 p.m. Eastern.