December 9, 2016
The college basketball season is finally here! I grew up watching games with my dad who is also a big basketball fan.
This past weekend was the season opener for the Liberty men’s basketball team in the Vines Center. They started their season against Cairn University, which is a small school about 25 minutes away from where I grew up. Students and fans filled the seats for the home opener. Liberty started the game off slow and only had a four-point lead with about five minutes left in the first half. The team was able to extend their lead to 12 at the half with a pair of three’s from Ray Chen. In the second half, Liberty continued to extend their lead and did not look back. Liberty was able to win their home opener 81-53, led by John Dawson who had a team-high 15 points.
Then, on Tuesday Liberty played against VCU at the Vines Center. This was a very tough matchup for Liberty since VCU is a talented team with a lot of experience in the NCAA tournament. Liberty started off the game well and jumped out to a 16-7 lead early on in the first half. The team started off with great defense and this led to scoring opportunities for Liberty that they were able to capitalize on. Then, VCU started to find their stride and closed the gap. Liberty was down 30-34 at the end of the first half, led by Caleb Homesley's seven points, but continued to hang around in the second half, despite a big opening scoring run by VCU. The Flames had some big three's from John Dawson and AC Reid but were unable to pull out the comeback win, coming up five points short, 59-64.
Liberty is going in the right direction, and I like that the program is scheduling tough competition early on in the season, including VCU and Indiana, which is currently No. 6 in the nation. Playing all of these talented teams will help Liberty gain experience that will pay off during conference play. Liberty’s next game is Saturday, Dec. 10 against Princeton in Lynchburg, Va, at 2 p.m.
December 9, 2016
This past weekend was full of championship games for Liberty sports. Both the women’s field hockey and women’s soccer teams played in their conference championship. The field hockey team played against UConn in the Big East Championship at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. I was unable to go to the game even though I am from right outside of Philadelphia and live about 30 minutes from Temple University.
Making it to the conference championship game is a great achievement for Liberty, especially since it was their first year in the Big East Conference. Liberty entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed and beat No. 3 seed Providence 1-0 in the semifinals. The Flames faced off against No. 1 seed UConn in the championship game. Liberty fell behind 3-0 in the first half but did not give up. Mallory Fortenbaugh scored to end the first half and cut the lead to 3-1. Then, Liberty got an early second half goal from Serena Barr, who scored off of a pass from her sister, Bethany Barr. Unfortunately, Liberty was unable to score again and lost the championship game 3-2.
The Flames had a great year, with a conference record of 5-2. They also had four players who made the All-Tournament Team, including Bethany Barr, Serena Barr, Allison Schaefer, and Agueda Moroni. The team is relatively young as well since they only have three seniors on their roster (Bethany Barr, Serena Barr, and Carrie Logie). The Flames are definitely headed in the right direction and they hope to continue their success in their second season in the conference next year.
The women’s soccer team also had a conference championship game this past weekend against No. 1 seed High Point University in Greensboro, N.C. Liberty has been in the Big South Conference championship game every year since I have been at the university. They won the conference championship my freshman and junior years. Needless to say, the Lady Flames have had a lot of success recently. The championship game this year was a great one, with both teams tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, but the Flames were able to pull off the overtime win with a goal from Gabrielle Farrell, which was set up by a throw in from Baylee Gillmore. The Flames have now won their second Big South Conference tournament championship in a row.
Liberty junior Jennifer Knoebel was named the MVP of the tournament. There were three other Flames that were named to the All-Tournament Team, Gabrielle Farrell, Holly Van Noord, and Jordan Kestel. The Flames now hold the record in their conference with six Big South Championships. Unfortunately, Liberty’s season ended the following week in the NCAA tournament with a loss against the University of North Carolina. It was still another great season for the Lady Flames.
November 7, 2016
This past weekend, Liberty invited all alumni back to campus for Homecoming. There were a lot of different festivities and events throughout the weekend. The fun started Thursday night with a concert by Switchfoot and Relient K in the Vines Center. I grew up listening to both of these bands. Unfortunately, I was unable to go because I had a test Friday morning, so I was in the library studying. I had a couple of friends that went, and they said it was a great concert.
On Saturday, alumni and current students filled Williams Stadium to watch Liberty football take on Monmouth University. The Flames offense started off on fire and did not slow down. They tallied a total of 681 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Junior running back Todd Macon had one of his best career games for Liberty. He rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Quarterback Stephen Calvert threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He is now 3-0 as the starting quarterback for the Flames, which is a very impressive start for the freshman. It was a great Homecoming game for Liberty and they look to continue their three-game winning streak next weekend against Gardner-Webb at 3:30 pm.
I had some friends from back home come and visit this past weekend, and we attended the football game. After the game, my friends and I went to Locked Up Lynchburg. This is an escape room that offers an interactive game experience in which your group must find the clues and solve the puzzles in order to escape the room. The group has an hour to find all the clues and solve the problems in order to escape the room. This was a lot of fun, but it was even more fun because we were able to figure it out with time to spare. For the most part, everyone in our group knew each other pretty well, and that is probably why we were able to figure out the puzzles and clues.
Overall with the combination of my friends visiting and the Homecoming events made this past weekend very enjoyable.
November 2, 2016
I hope everyone had a great fall break. I was able to go back home to Pennsylvania and spend some time with family and friends. I spent Friday night celebrating one of my friends 22nd birthday. A group of my friends and I went over to her house for a barbecue, and we were able to catch up since we had not seen each other in a couple of months. On Saturday, I went golfing with my Dad and brother. We were fortunate enough to beat the rain from Hurricane Matthew, which started shortly after we finished our round of golf. It was a very relaxing time, and I was able to take a break from my schoolwork for a couple days (I am regretting that decision). Now it is back to hitting the books, but I was told that we only have six weeks left until Thanksgiving break, so that is something to look forward to.
In Lynchburg, the Liberty women’s volleyball team had a match against Winthrop University on Saturday afternoon. I was not able to go to the match since I was back home, but Liberty won 3-2! The team was able to escape the close match with a victory.
The team had another match against Campbell University on Monday night. I was able to go for a little bit before my intramural basketball game. It was a great night for Liberty as they dominated the match and won 3-0. It was an amazing team win for the Flames, leading the match was Leah Clayton with 15 kills and added 14 digs as well. For people who are not familiar with volleyball terms, a kill is a successful and legal scoring play. A dig is when a player prevents the ball from hitting the ground on their side, which prevents the opposing team from scoring a point. Gabrielle Vess also sent down 10 kills for the Flames.
I have been to a handful of volleyball games since I have been at Liberty. I have always enjoyed them, even though I am not much of a volleyball fan. My high school did not have a volleyball team, so I never really had a chance to get involved with the sport. The majority of my knowledge comes from watching volleyball during the Olympics. With that being said, Liberty has a pretty good team this year. They have an overall record of 9-9 and are 4-2 in conference play. Their next match is this Saturday, October 29th against UNC Asheville at 2:00 pm in the Vines Center. I encourage everyone to come out and support the team!
October 14, 2016
Liberty’s field hockey team has moved into the Big East Conference this season. Last year, the Lady Flames finished with a 12-6 record. The field hockey team has moved into a conference with very established programs, including Villanova, Temple, UConn, Georgetown, etc. The field hockey team has been very good since I have been at Liberty. They won the North Pacific Championship title in 2013 (my freshman year) and went on to compete in the D1 Field Hockey Championship tournament.
The field hockey team was ranked No. 13 in the preseason poll, and is scheduled to compete against all programs that were ranked in the top five. Seniors Serena and Bethany Barr were named to the preseason All-Big East Team. This is a great accomplishment for the two players in their final season!
I was able to go to the field hockey game on Tuesday afternoon. I do not know a lot about field hockey, but I did enjoy the game. Luckily, I sat next to someone who knew a lot about the sport, and she was able to help me understand what was happening. She taught me about third party obstruction, which is when a player runs between her teammate (who has possession of the ball) and an opponent trying to get the ball, essentially blocking the opponent’s path. I did not realize that you couldn’t have more than two players around the ball. There is also a penalty corner, which is very similar to a corner kick in soccer. This happens when a defender commits a penalty while the other team is on offense. The person I sat next to was not able to teach me everything about the sport, but she was very helpful.
Liberty played well against Longwood, but they lost a close game, 3-4. The loss moves the Lady Flames to 1-5 on the year, but they are 1-0 in conference play so far. On Tuesday, Liberty gave away mini field hockey sticks to the first 250 fans that were wearing Liberty red. There is a list of other promotions that the field hockey team offers. You can find them here:
The next home game is Oct. 8 at noon. I encourage everyone to come out and cheer on the field hockey team, and maybe learn some more about the sport like I did.
(Photo by Kaitlyn Becker Johnson)
(Photo by Kaitlyn Becker Johnson)