Women’s lacrosse rushes to quick start, earns 16-4 win over Lancers

On a chilly Saturday, the Lady Flames caught fire, notching their first win of the young season against the Longwood Lancers 16-4. 

The Liberty University women’s lacrosse team improved to 1-2 on the season after dropping its first two games to ranked Virginia and North Carolina teams. The Flames are no strangers to 0-2 starts, having started 0-2 in their last five seasons.

Liberty got off to a hot start in the opening frame, scoring five goals in the first period. Senior midfielder Mackenzie Lehman started the day by scoring one of her three goals a mere 42 seconds into the game. The quick offensive action jump-started Lehman’s solid day, where she recorded her second consecutive hat trick of the season. Sophomore midfielder Katie Colavito also notched two early goals, as the Flames ended the first period up 5-1. 

“(Our start was) huge. We play a lot of great teams, and it’s nice to have a buffer to start the game, so I was proud about that,” Lady Flames Head Coach Kelly Nangle said.

The game belonged to junior attacker Cami Merkel, however, who scored five goals, with three of them coming in the first half. Merkel now leads the team in goals with eight on the season. 

“(Merkel) played great. She has a target on her back as a junior now. I feel she played to her strengths, and this will be good for her building momentum going forward,” Nangle said.

Photo by Noah Seidlitz

The game was all Flames from start to finish, as the score stood at 9-2 going into the second half. Liberty’s offense refused to take its foot off the gas, scoring five goals in the third led by Merkel (three goals) and Lehman (two goals). 

The Flames shared the wealth, with eight different players finding the net. Once up by a dominant 14-3 score in the final quarter, freshman midfielder Riley Phillips added to the offensive action, scoring her first career goal. 

The Flames ended the game by tying a program record with 52 shots on goal, scoring on 31% of their shots — something Nangle would like to improve on. 

We’ve got to finish our opportunities a little better,” Nangle said. “We had 52 shots and only hit on 16 of those, so that’s something we’re going to hit hard this week.”

The Flames were solid in net, only allowing one goal per quarter as junior goalkeeper Mara Tellers notched two saves and the win. 

Liberty now looks to even its record out against the Richmond Spiders at home Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m.

Stacy is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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