No. 25 Liberty dropped a road contest at No. 11 Michigan, Friday evening.
No. 25 Liberty came up short, falling, 3-0, to No. 11 Michigan on Friday night at Ocker Field.
Michigan's Meg Dowthwaite's pair of first-half goals provided the Wolverines a 2-0 lead at intermission, and Carly Bennett scored in the second half to settle the final outcome.
The Wolverines move to 3-0 in 2017, while the Lady Flames drop to 0-2. Friday's night contest marked the first time the Liberty field hockey program has faced a Big Ten opponent.
Dowthwaite recorded the first shot of the game just over nine minutes in, a backhanded strike that hit richocheted off Liberty goalkeeper Allison Schaefer's pad and into the goal cage. Dowthwaite's goal at the 9:09 mark, her third of the season, put Michigan ahead, 1-0.
The hosts recorded the next six shots in a 10-minute span but failed to convert as Schaefer made four saves. Liberty midfielder Abby Julius drew the Lady Flames' first penalty corner of the game in the 22nd minute. Shots by Agueda Moroni, Mallory Fortenbaugh and Alynn Richardson were all thwarted by the Michigan defense in the short corner sequence.
The Wolverines' offense cashed in on its next short corner. Following an insertion from Emma Way, Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort found Dowthwaite with a pass. Dowthwaite ripped a strike into the goal for her second tally of the night and fourth of the season, giving Michigan a 2-0 edge at 27:25.
The Wolverines took a 2-0 advantage into the locker room after outshooting the Lady Flames, 11-3, in the first stanza.
Michigan drew two short corners in the first 75 seconds of the second half, but the Liberty defense was up to the task, keeping the score at 2-0. The Wolverines' sixth short corner of the match bolstered the home side lead to 3-0. After Downthwaite's initial shot was blocked, Bennett chipped a shot that deflected off a Lady Flames defender and past Schaefer. Bennett's second goal of the season in the 46th minute pushed the Michigan lead to 3-0.
In the closing stretch of the game, Liberty outshot Michigan, 6-2 and drew three penalty corners while controlling the action. The Lady Flames' first corner in the closing stretch came in the 59th minute. Shots by Moroni, Lindsay Pratt and Pippa Best were all fended off by Wolverines goalkeeper Sam Swenson.
Moniek van Aarle drew Liberty's next corner, but Julius' shot was blocked by a Michigan defender. The Lady Flames' final short corner came up empty, as Swenson fended off shots from Julius and Summer Parker.
Michigan outshot Liberty, 17-9, in the match and held a 5-4 edge in penalty corners. Swenson (3-0) recorded six saves for her first shutout of the year, while Schaefer (0-2) made seven stops on the night.
The Lady Flames will return to the turf next Friday at Longwood. Match time is slated for 5 p.m. at Burger Jackson Field in Farmville, Va.
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