Flames seek redemption at SELC DI Tournament near Atlanta
April 22, 2015 | Lynchburg, Va.
All of the goals Liberty University's men's lacrosse team established at the start of this season are still attainable as the postseason gets underway this weekend north of Atlanta.
A week after missing an opportunity to defend their SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference Northwest Region regular-season title with a 15-7 loss at undefeated Virginia Tech, the Flames (9-4) hope to run the table and capture their first SELC Division I tournament title by winning a potential rematch with the ninth-ranked Hokies (12-0) in Sunday's 3 p.m. championship game. The winner would receive an automatic bid to the May 11-16 MCLA DI national championships in Orange County, Calif.
"If the guys need more motivation, I don't know how to inspire them more because they've got a lot to play for and a lot to prove," Liberty Head Coach Kyle McQuillan said. "Everybody feels like we haven't really accomplished what we set out to do this season, but we still can. We're still one of those bubble teams for (an at-large bid to) nationals in California, but we haven't locked up anything yet."
Liberty dropped one spot to No. 15 in this week's MCLA Division I poll and will face No. 17 Florida State (8-4) in Friday's quarterfinal, set for 8 p.m. at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga.
The Flames held off the Seminoles, 11-10, in their last home game two Fridays ago. Liberty eliminated FSU in the semifinals of last season's SELC tournament after losing the regular-season meeting, in similar fashion as Virginia Tech, which lost at Liberty before winning the rematch in the SELC DI Tournament championship game for its second title in three seasons.
"It's really hard to beat the same team twice in one season," McQuillan said, noting that could work against, but also for the Flames. "We're hoping for an opportunity to play Virginia Tech because we feel if we're given another opportunity, it would be a different outcome, but we've got to earn that right."
If it can defeat the Seminoles a second time on Friday night, Liberty would likely challenge sixth-ranked Georgia Tech (14-0) in Saturday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Ga., where the Yellow Jackets, based in Atlanta, would likely benefit from a partisan crowd.
"We enjoy being an underdog and that's exactly what we are," he added. "Nobody's picking us to win an SELC Tournament. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are both undefeated going in. Nobody's looking at us to do a whole lot of damage and hopefully we can use that to our advantage."
Both of Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's championship game will be webcast live.