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    February 23, 2022 Axton, Va. RSS |

    Seeded fifth out of 17 teams at the USA Ultimate Commonwealth Cup, played last weekend at the Smith River Sports Complex in Axton, Va., Liberty University’s women’s ultimate team placed third by upsetting top-seeded Duke in pool play and fourth-seeded Virginia Tech in the consolation final.

    “We ended up breaking seed and taking third, so we did pretty well,” Lady Flames Head Coach Jonathan Mast said. “It was a really good weekend. It was wonderful to be back on the playing field and all the girls had a good time. Our objective going into the weekend was to develop depth and get everybody as much playing time and experience as we could and that goal was definitely accomplished.”

    Mast divided his 16-player roster into two groups of eight players for the 7-on-7 tournament play and both fared equally well.

    “Everyone contributed in a lot of ways, as we played even lines and rotated the whole lines out to get as much playing time as possible,” Mast said. “Fundamentally, we have done a good job developing everybody (through practices). They just have had a lack of actual competition to get them playing experience. For the rookies, this was their first real tournament, and they were scoring goals, getting assists, and they all got touches on the disc, so I was really proud of them, and pretty excited to see where we’re going to go. I think we’re developing really fast, and I am excited to see how we look by the end of the season.”

    Graduate captains Victoria Dissmore and Mikayla DiSarle played key roles and showed excellent leadership for the newcomers.

    “We had breakthroughs in terms of how our team figured out opposing offenses and talking about how to counter them,” Mast said. “Confidence and mental toughness were our themes and in three of the games that we won, we had to come from behind with a couple breaks.”

    Liberty opened Saturday’s pool play with a 10-1 upset of Duke before bouncing back from a 6-3 loss to Virginia Tech with an 8-4 victory over Georgetown. Then, in Sunday’s playoffs, the Lady Flames rallied to upset No. 3-seeded MIT, 11-8, after making some halftime defensive adjustments, before being knocked to the consolation bracket with a 13-6 loss to JMU, the eventual runner-up to the Triangle (N.C.) Tourists. Liberty then erased a two-point deficit to win its rematch with the Hokies, 9-8, to finish 4-2 for the weekend.

    Complete results are available online.

    “We were down by two at the half (in the third-place game) and scored three in a row to take the lead,” Mast said. “Virginia Tech scored to send it to overtime and we got the universal point to win the game on a very well executed deep throw from (sophomore) Vanessa Vallette to (senior) Maddie (McCoy), who had gotten open in the end zone on the upwind side.”

    Mast said the tournament was played in 15-20-mph winds on Saturday.

    “That was a good opportunity for us to try to prepare ourselves to the kinds of games we might play in the Conference Championships (set for April 9-10 at the Liberty Mountain Intramural Complex), when the weather is usually windy,” Mast said.

    This weekend, the Lady Flames will travel to East Carolina University to compete in the Cutlass Classic against teams mostly from North Carolina and Georgia.

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer