Lady Flames Fall to Northwestern for First Loss of the Fall 2021 Season

In a hard-fought affair at the Liberty Field Hockey Field, No. 5 Northwestern took down No. 11 Liberty, handing the Lady Flames their first loss of the season. 

The Lady Flames offense opened the game strong, scoring the first goal of the game with 9:54 left in the first period. Freshman midfielder/defender Martu Cian netted her first-career goal from an assist by senior Charlotte Vannhold to take a 1-0 lead. 

The Wildcats quickly answered, however, with Alia Marshall scoring for the Wildcats off a penalty corner to end the first period in a tie. Northwestern finished the first period with eight shots on goal compared to a dismal two by the Lady Flames.

During the second period, the defenses for both teams outshone the offenses, with the teams combining for only five shots on goal. 

Northwestern broke the tie midway through the third period to take the lead 2-1. The Lady Flames were able to answer at the end of the third period when senior Lizzie Hamlett notched her second goal of the season from an assist from fifth-year senior Jill Bolton to tie the game at 2-2. 

The furious battle between the two teams continued in the fourth quarter. Liese Wareham scored unassisted for Northwestern with under 10 minutes left in the game, taking the lead 3-2. The Lady Flames fired back quickly when Hamlett notched her second goal of the game, tying the game with five minutes left to play.

The Lady Flames were unable to close out the game. Northwestern’s Clara Roth ripped a reverse shot past Lady Flames’ goalkeeper Azul Iritxity Irigoyen with 1:37 to go, effectively icing the game 4-3.

There were some positives to take away from the defeat, however.

The game was a reunion for Parsley-Blocker, who previously played for Northwestern from 2010-2013, earning second team All-American honors during her senior season. She demonstrated pleasure with the team’s overall performance.

“I think everyone’s got to pay attention to us if anyone can go for three [score three goals against] with Northwestern,” Parsley-Blocker said. “I’m excited about what the girls were able to do and also just the level that they consistently stayed at whether we were up a goal or down a goal. I didn’t see us dipping, and then rising back up— we stayed pretty consistent”.

The Lady Flames’ woes continued with a 1-3 loss to No. 6 Louisville Sept. 12. 

The team will next compete against Georgetown Sept. 17 in Washington D.C. as it seeks to rebound from two straight losses.

Hisaw is a sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @jdhisaw.

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