The drought is over
Women’s lacrosse snaps eight-game losing streak with win over Longwood
The Lady Flames lacrosse team edged the Longwood Lancers 12-11 on a chilly afternoon to end their eight-game losing streak April 6 at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
The win marked the first time Liberty had defeated Longwood in Liberty’s short women’s lacrosse history. Liberty pushed the Lancers to 6-6 on the season and 1-2 in conference, while Liberty improved to 2-10 and 1-2 in Big South play.
“On our end, we were giving up a ton of shots and we’re not generating shots and we kind of flipped that today,” Liberty Head Coach Kelly Nangle said.
The brisk breeze cooled down the Flames to a slow start, while the Lancers came out firing. Longwood senior and reigning Big South defensive player of the week Shiloh McKenzie netted two early goals back to back to give the Lancers a quick 2-0 lead.
A free position shot by Lancer sophomore Hollyn Royster pushed the lead up to 3-0, but the Flames would have an answer. Seconds later, Flames freshman Brianna McCaffrey scored her fourth goal of the season to cut into Longwood’s early lead.
At the 16-minute mark, Liberty freshman assist leader Kayla Foster set up junior Michaela Rich’s goal that cut the lead to one. Lancer’s McKenzie stayed hot collecting another goal to return Longwood’s lead back to two.
The Lady Flames stormed back to take the lead with three unanswered goals when Senior Kallie Britton scored two goals just seconds apart. Foster followed up with a goal of her own to grab the lead for Liberty at 5-4.
Longwood closed the half with a couple of goals to take a 6-5 lead into the break.
“I had to kind of keep them, just tell them, ‘Hey you’re doing all the right things, it’s going to fall,’” Nangle said. “If we just keep executing what we’re doing trust me we’ll win this game.”
After being corralled for the entire first half, the Lancers leading scorer Katie McHugh finally found the net to get the first goal of the second half. Britton helped Liberty answer first with an assist to sophomore Katy Pridemore. Britton then followed by netting two goals to help Liberty take the lead back, 8-7.
Senior Callie Francis surged pass the defense to score giving Liberty its largest lead of the game at 9-7.
The Lancers battled back once again with three goals from three different players to regain the lead 10-9.
A second goal from Francis tied things up again at 10 apiece in this game of runs. Liberty took the lead for good when Foster scored her second goal of the contest with the assist from freshman
Rich then cushioned the lead to 12-10 with a crucial goal with 1:54 remaining on the clock. But just seconds later, the lead was cut to one by Longwood’s senior Lisa Schell’s goal with 1:41 in regulation.
With 45 seconds left, Liberty turned the ball over and the Lancers charged up the field with a chance to score.
“Even at the end of the game when we turned it over, we said in our huddle that we’re going to get it back,” Nangle said.
The Lady Flames defense clamped down to force a clutch Longwood turnover with 20 seconds on the clock to seal the game.
“Our team has never been one not to play with heart,” Britton said. “We have a lot of heart, a lot of energy, and I think it was just tapping into that in the second half.”
Nangle praised her defense’s effort and highlighted the hustle of senior Melanie Via who faced guarded the Lancers leading scorer McHugh.
“We held her to one goal, that’s something that’s really overlooked because it’s a tough job,” Nangle said. “You don’t get any stats face guarding someone.”
The Lady Flames hit the road and head to High Point, North Carolina to play the High Point Panthers, Wednesday, April 13 at 4 p.m.
Collier is a sports reporter.