It was a record-setting day for the Liberty women's lacrosse program, as 13 different players scored in a rout of Longwood, 22-7, at the Liberty Lacrosse Field on Wednesday.
With the win, the Lady Flames set a new program record with their 10th victory of the 2018 season. Additionally, junior attacker Kayla Foster set a new Liberty women's lacrosse record with 10 assists, the most by any NCAA DI player in a game this spring. Foster also matched the Big South record for single-game assists, becoming the third player ever to do so.
Foster broke her own former program record (eight assists), which she set last year at Gardner-Webb (April 12, 2017). She also tied the school record for most points (11), which she set in that same Gardner-Webb game. Seven of Foster's 10 assists came in the first half, but her ninth and 10th assists, did not occur until the 3:08 mark and 1:00 mark of the second half.
Liberty is now 10-4 overall, a perfect 6-0 on its home turf and 3-1 in the Big South. The Lady Flames have now defeated the Lancers four straight times, and Wednesday's 15-goal win marked the biggest margin of victory for Liberty over Longwood ever. The 22 goals by Liberty is its new season high and the most in a game by any Big South team, this season, and tied for the second most in a single contest in school history.
Longwood is now 6-8 overall and 1-2 in the Big South.
"I'm really proud of how the girls game out today. We came out ready to play from the start and improved in some areas that we needed to be better at," said Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle. "We had a total team effort today, and that's the best way to win."
The Lady Flames also got strong offensive games from sophomore midfielder Hannah Quast (four goals), along with three goals apiece from senior attacker Abby Britton and sophomore attacker Jenna Joyal.
Junior attacker Brianna McCaffrey and sophomore attacker Grace Fletcher added two goals apiece in a contest which saw Liberty outshoot Longwood, 42-17. Liberty matched a program record with 15 assists in the contest and had 37 points, which is tied for No. 2 in a single game in program history, just one behind the record (38 points, vs. Gardner-Webb on April 10, 2015).
Kaitlin Luccarelli led the way for Longwood with three goals and an assist. Lexi Davis scored twice for the visitors, and Riley Dolan, the nation's leaders in assists, added three assists. The Lady Flames' defense, which leads the nation in caused turnovers per game (14.46), had 14 more on Wednesday.
Liberty raced out to a 5-0 advantage in the first 3:59 of the game and never looked back. During that quick start, Foster scored the first goal of the game and assisted on two others, while Britton scored two times.
A goal from the Lancers' Luccarelli at the 24:25 mark put a brief stop to Liberty's offensive prowess. However, goals from Michaela Rich, Joyal, Quast (free-position goal) and McCaffrey quickly made it 9-1, Lady Flames, at the 18:05 mark of the opening frame. Two of those four goals during that 4-0 run were assisted by Foster.
Over the final 15:19 of the first half, Liberty outscored Longwood, 6-4. During the time span, the Lady Flames received goals from Joyal (two), freshman Emily Browne (her fourth in the last four games), Carly White and Quast. Joyal's marker with five seconds left in the half sent the hosts into halftime up, 15-5.
Liberty only committed four turnovers in the half and eight for the game and led, 13-5, in ground balls and 23-11 in shots in the first 30 minutes.
After Davis of the Lancers opened the scoring in the second half with 28:12 remaining, making it 15-6, the Lady Flames once again went on a run. They scored the next four goals, with two coming from sophomore Grace Fletcher and one apiece from the freshmen duo of Mia Toscano and Anna Keebler. Fletcher's second tally of that run pushed the Liberty lead to 13 (19-6) with 12:14 remaining.
Sophomore Molly Blake, Quast and Bryan wrapped up the scoring for the Lady Flames. Bryan's goal with one minute remaining, a play in which she snagged a high offering from Foster from in front of the net in heavy traffic, shot and scored, gave Foster her 10th assist of the afternoon and brought the final score to 22-7.
With her 11-point game, Foster moved into fourth place in program history in career points with 165. She now needs 23 to surpass Morgan Becker (187 points, 2011-2015) for the most points in school history.
Liberty's White paced the home team's efforts in the draw circle (17-13 advantage) with a team-high six draw controls. Longwood's Molly Barkman led all players with 10 draw controls. The Lady Flames' distinct 24-12 edge in ground balls was aided by four apiece from McCaffrey, White, and goalkeeper Katherine Widrick.
The Lady Flames' Aubrie Tarris (7-3) collected her seventh win of the season, making two saves against five goals surrendered in 30 minutes of action. Widrick came on in relief of Tarris for the second half and had four stops against just two goals allowed. Longwood netminder, senior Imani West (6-8) made nine saves against 19 goals allowed in 55:32 in the cage.
"I'm excited about how we responded from our last game, and we are ready to get to work and prepare for a huge game against Winthrop on Saturday," Nangle added.
A crucial matchup for Liberty against Big South co-leader Winthrop (11-3, 4-0 BSC) looms on Saturday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field at 3 p.m. Saturday is Senior Day for the Liberty women's lacrosse program. Prior to the contest, the Lady Flames will take time to honor their three seniors – Abby Britton, Lindsey McNamara and Michaela Rich – prior to the contest.
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