Liberty’s Field Hockey Team Blanks Villanova in a Statement Victory
The No. 10 Lady Flames field hockey team extended its winning streak to six games on the season with its 7-0 victory against Villanova Oct. 8.
The Flames’ offense came out swinging to begin the game with junior Jodie Conolly scoring off a penalty corner shot one minute into the game. Junior forward Daniella Rhodes notched another goal for the Flames at the 6:30 mark in the first quarter, and junior defender Bethany Dykema added to the point haul with a score from an assist by Conolly.
The Lady Flames continued their offensive dominance after taking a 3-0 lead going into the second quarter. Senior forward Jill Bolton notched three goals on the day, netting her fourth career three-goal game. Bolton also surpassed Agueda Moroni to establish a new program record for career points with 136 points.
Along with the barrage of first quarter goals and Bolton’s three scores, freshman midfielder Martu Cian added a goal from a Reagan Underwood assist at the 29:21 mark.
Offensive consistency allowed the Lady Flames to hold a dominant lead throughout the game. Liberty was able to outshoot the Wildcats 31-3, setting a season high for shots on goal and tying for the seventh-most in a game in school history.
Bolton commented on her record-breaking day and expressed respect for Moroni’s field hockey legacy.
“It’s just a cool experience,” Bolton said. “Breaking Agueda, her record is really cool. She is a great player. Just to be in a category as her is awesome.”
Head Coach Nikki Parsley-Blocker was pleased with the team’s quality of play.
“‘Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground,’” Parsley-Blocker said, quoting author Brene Brown. “Regardless of who the opponent is, we are really trying to play Liberty field hockey principles consistently.”
The coach noted that the dominant win was a complete team effort.
“One of the pillars of the field hockey program is selfless ‘we before me,’ and that ties into the ethos of Liberty University. I hope today was a demonstration of Jesus as we played,” Parsley-Blocker said.
The game against Villanova also marked the program’s inaugural Colon Cancer Awareness game. Raffles were available with a small donation, and the Lady Flames could be seen with their ribbons in support of the awareness cause. Flames Nation was able to raise over $3,000 for the cause.
The game honored both Liberty Assistant Coach Heather Hefner’s mom Susan Wiley, who passed away from colon cancer in 2014, and Parsley-Blocker’s pastor from Northwestern, Todd Lucas, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.
After dominating against Villanova, the Lady Flames traveled to Chapel Hill Oct. 10 to beat No. 9 UNC, winning against the three-time defending national champions 4-0. The victory was the Lady Flames’ first-ever victory over UNC and UNC’s first home loss since 2014.
Liberty field hockey will travel next to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to face Temple Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.
Altamirano is a sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @jamesaltamiran.