Lady Flames hockey defends ACHA Division I national title in Texas
Top-seeded Liberty University’s ACHA Division I women’s hockey team opened a 3-0 lead and fended off a second-period rally by No. 3 Lindenwood-Belleville to pull away for a 5-2 triumph in the ACHA DI National Championship final, Sunday at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.
The Lady Flames (28-1-3) got goals from five different players to defend their title and win their third trophy in the past five seasons. Junior goalie Nadia Rupoli made 24 saves, the most she had been tested in the tournament, and junior forward Vanessa DeMerchant earned tournament MVP honors after netting two goals and distributing five assists in four games.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” DeMerchant said. “It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. I just am so proud of our team and the way we came together this year. We battled through some adversity, but in the end we came out on top.”
“First of all, glory to God in all the success our team had all year on and off the ice,” Liberty second-year Head Coach Chris Lowes added. “What an incredible group of girls — 23 young ladies that are just champions. Aside from the hockey part of it, it’s a great group and I enjoy being around them.”