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Liberty Downs Furman 16-9 in Home Opener, Wednesday

February 19, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty women's lacrosse team used a scoring run in each half to defeat the Furman Paladins 16-9 in its home opener, Wednesday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

The Lady Flames pick up their first win of the 2020 campaign and improve to 1-2 on the year. Liberty has now defeated Furman each of the last two seasons in the first-ever meetings between the two schools in lacrosse. Furman suffers its first loss of the season and drops to 2-1.

Liberty junior Anna Keebler established a new career high with six goals in the contest. Freshman Jordan Baerga poured in her first two career goals, while redshirt sophomore Brooke Bryan and senior Hannah Quast added two goals apiece. Lady Flames sophomore Jennifer Soriero was stellar in goal in the second half, making 10 saves during the final 30 minutes. Junior Mia Toscano won a career-high and game-high seven draw controls in the contest.

Scoring Summary
Liberty Goals: Anna Keebler 6, Hannah Quast 2, Jordan Baerga 2, Brooke Bryan 2, Jenna Joyal 1, Carly White 1, Mia Toscano 1, Morgan Learn 1
Liberty Assists: Jenna Joyal 3, Mia Toscano 1, Carly White 1
Furman Goals: Grace Pollak 4, Hannah Demis 3, Kyra LaMotte 1, Meagan Beal 1
Furman Assists: Hannah Demis 2, Leah Nonnenmann 2, Hannah Dintino 1, Grace Pollak 1

Goalkeepers
W: Aubrie Tarris 1-1, zero saves
L: Megan Deehan 2-1, six saves

Turning Point
Liberty went on a 6-0 run in the first half to build an 8-2 lead. The run started with Baerga's first career goal with 14:20 to play in the opening stanza and was capped off by Keebler's fourth goal of the half to make it a six-goal lead (8-2) with 9:57 to go.

Furman kept the game close in the second frame and trailed 11-7 with 20:11 remaining on Grace Pollak's third goal of the match. However, the Lady Flames scored five unanswered goals over the next 14:53 to put the game out of reach. During the run, Keebler tallied her fifth and sixth goals of the day, and Baerga scored her second marker of the day with 6:18 remaining to make it 16-7 Lady Flames.

Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"This was a great team win this afternoon. We had a great crowd that created an awesome atmosphere to play in! I'm really proud of how our girls responded from our last game. We improved in a lot of areas, and we are excited to continue to get better!"

First Half Summary
• The Lady Flames struck early for a pair of goals in the opening two minutes of the match. Keebler found the back of the net just over a minute in, followed by a marker from Quast at the 28:23 mark.
• Furman evened the game at 2-all following goals from Kyra LaMotte and Pollak. After Pollak's goal at the 23:11 mark, both teams were kept off the scoreboard for the next 8:51 until Baerga struck for her first career goal with 14:20 left.
• Trailing 8-2 with 9:57 left in the half, the Paladins closed the half with back-to-back goals from Pollak and Hannah Demis to trail 8-4 at intermission. Liberty led Furman 10-3 in draw controls and 12-4 in caused turnover in the first half.

Second Half Summary
• Coming on in relief of starter Aubrie Tarris, sophomore netminder Jennifer Soriero made 10 saves in the second half. Four of those 10 stops were on Paladin free-position shots.
• Keebler scored her sixth goal of the afternoon with 13:09 remaining, making it 15-7. Prior to Keebler, the last Lady Flame to score six goals in a game was Michaela Rich at home versus Presbyterian, March 31, 2018.

Key Stats & Notes
• Liberty outshot Furman 35-24 and also held advantages in draw controls (17-10), caused turnovers (17-8), ground balls (21-20) and saves (10-6). The Lady Flames also held an edge in clear percentage, .818-.667.
• Keebler is one of 10 Liberty players in program history to score six or more goals in a game. The junior from Pittsburgh, Pa. leads the Lady Flames with 13 goals through three games, this season. Katy Pridemore is the only player to score seven times in a game, a feat she accomplished against Presbyterian on April 12, 2015.
• The Lady Flames are now 6-5 all-time in home openers. Liberty is 14-2 on its home field over the last three seasons.
• Liberty's 15 goals was its most in a home opener since the Lady Flames scored 19 goals against VCU in their first home contest in 2016 (19-9 win).
• Liberty attacker Jenna Joyal matched a career best with three assists. The senior, who also scored her first goal of the season today, has two three-assist games in 2020 and is tied for second on the team in points with seven (1 g, 6 a).
• Bryan's two-goal effort was the first multiple-goal game of her career. Sophomore midfielder Morgan Learn's goal early in the second half (25:05 mark) was her first of the season and second of her career. Freshman attacker Delainey Iles scooped up her first career ground ball.
• Head coach Kelly Nangle notched her 50th career victory at Liberty with the win. Nangle and the Lady Flames are 28-12 over the last two-plus seasons.

Up Next
• The Lady Flames will be back in action a week from today at home against the Winthrop Eagles (0-2). First draw is scheduled for 4 p.m., next Wednesday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
• The former Big South rivals met in 2019, a 10-5 win by the Lady Flames over the Eagles in Rock Hill, S.C.