Women’s Lacrosse Prepares For ASUN Tourney Game Against Kennesaw St.
The Lady Flames lacrosse team will travel down to Kennesaw, Georgia, to compete in the 2021 ASUN Women’s Lacrosse Championship with aspirations of winning their first ASUN title after losing in the finals in 2019 against Jacksonville.
Liberty and Jacksonville are the likely finalists going into the tournament, but the Lady Flames are still focused on their next opponent Kennesaw State.
In the first matchup of the tournament, the ASUN No. 2 Lady Flames will face off against the ASUN No. 3 Kennesaw State Owls at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, the host stadium for the entire tournament. Even though the Lady Flames beat the Owls 17-6 earlier this season, the Owl’s home field advantage in a “win or go home game” could prove pivotal.
“For our team, I know we love playing at home, so I know Kennesaw State is feeling the same way right now,” Head Coach Kelly Nangle said. “They also get to host the tournament so they will have a little bit of an edge there but my job is to not let it affect us.”
As the regular season came to an end, the Lady Flames finished 4-6 in away games, with four of those losses coming against ranked opponents. Although the Lady Flames lost all six matches against nationally-ranked opponents, the experience they gained from those matches could be crucial in the ASUN title fight, something Nangle is aware of.
“Those games have really prepared us and obviously Jacksonville is nationally ranked so we have to figure out how to get past them if we want to win a title,” Nangle said. “I’m just really thankful we can play a team like Florida. Was it good that we lost the game? No. But that experience will help us win a championship.”
In the past, the Lady Flames have not been successful against Jacksonville. Liberty has not beaten Jacksonville since joining the ASUN conference, and in 2019, the Lady Flames lost by two goals in the ASUN Championship against the Dolphins. Even though the roster is not the same as it was in the last meeting, senior Grace Fletcher remembers that game against the Dolphins vividly and expressed excitement for the rematch.
“We are totally fired up to play them, and we know that we can beat them,” Fletcher said. “It was such a close game two years ago, but now we are more equipped and more familiar with them so I think we can beat them.”
Fletcher’s experience and leadership will be a great asset for the Lady Flames in the tournament.
“Grace’s biggest impact on the field will be her experience and leadership,” Nangle said. “She brings a certain type of peace on the field that relaxes our team. Her experience leadership and ability to stay calm and poised is something that we need because the tournament can be crazy.”
Liberty’s ticket to the NCAA tournament will rely on the team’s success in the ASUN tournament, which will begin with Liberty’s matchup against Kennesaw State May 6 at 4 p.m.
Emmanuel Adamson is the graduating Sports Social Media Manager. Follow him on Twitter at @Eadamson12.