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Liberty Set to Make NCAA Tournament Debut Wednesday at No. 14 Delaware

November 12, 2013  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Set to Make NCAA Tournament Debut Wednesday at No. 14 Delaware

Game Notes

Liberty makes its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship on Wednesday with a road contest against the No. 14 Delaware Blue Hens in the Play-In round. The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Rullo Stadium, with the winner advancing to face tournament No. 3 overall seed North Carolina on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

How to Follow the Game
Live stats and a live video stream of the game will be made available courtesy of the Delaware Athletics Department. Both the live stats link and the live video link can be found by visiting the field hockey schedule/results page on Fans can also follow the game through Twitter updates from @LibertyFlames and @libertyFH.

Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames defeated No. 10 Stanford on Saturday, 2-1, claimining their first NorPac Championship title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Flames reached the title game with wins over Cal, 3-1, and UC Davis, 6-0. With the victory over the Cardinal, Liberty became the first East Division team to win the tournament title and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Liberty enters Wednesday's game with a 17-4 (8-0 NorPac) overall record and the longest current winning streak in the nation at 12 games. The Lady Flames' last setback came on Sept. 29 against No. 4 Virginia, 2-0. During its current winning streak, Liberty has outscored its opponents by a combined 57-9 tally and has posted five shutouts.

The sister trio of Natalie (49 points), Serena (27 points) and Bethany Barr (22 points) led a Liberty offense which is averaging 3.90 goals per game, 17.6 shots per game and 7.3 penalty corners per contest.  Natalie Barr paces the team with 19 goals, while also adding 11 assists. Twins Serena and Bethany Barr have nine goals, nine assists and five goals, 12 assists, respectively. Sophomores Ashlee Krulock (10 goals, 3 assists) and Hannah Jones (8 goals, 5 assists) also have eclipsed the 20-point mark this season.

The Lady Flames' defense has been equally as strong this season, surrendering just 0.95 goals per game, 7.1 shots per contest and 3.6 penalty corners per game. Liberty has posted a total of eight shutouts this year, setting a new single-season program record. Goalkeeper Ann Jefferis has played the majority of the minutes in cage for Liberty. The redshirt senior holds a 0.95 goals-against average and a .763 save percentage. Thanks to strong play from a backline that includes Helen Doolittle, Hannah Jones, Serena Barr, Olivia Carroll and Megan Johnson, Jefferis has only been forced to make 58 saves this year. Jefferis has posted six shutouts on the year. 

Going for a Baker's Dozen
Liberty is currently riding the nation's longest winning streak at 12 games. The Lady Flames' last setback came on Sept. 29 at home to No. 4 Virginia, 2-0. Liberty has been dominant during its 12-game winning streak, averaging 4.75 goals per game, while surrendering just 0.75 markers per contest. The Lady Flames' defense has posted five shutouts during that span.

Liberty vs. Top-20 Opponents
Wednesday's matchup with the Blue Hens with be the fifth time in program history the Lady Flames have faced an opponent ranked inside the top 20 nationally. Liberty is 1-3 all-time against ranked teams, with its lone win coming on Saturday against then No. 10 Stanford in the NorPac title game. In addition to the Stanford contest, the Lady Flames have faced two other ranked opponents this year, No. 18 Wake Forest and No. 4 Virginia. Liberty dropped both games, losing on the road to the Demon Deacons, 3-2, and falling at home to the Cavaliers, 2-0.

Lady Flames Away From Lynchburg
This season, Liberty is 8-3 in contests played away from Liberty Field Hockey Field. All-time, the Lady Flames are 21-14 in road or neutral site matches. Liberty has notched a win in each of its last five road games, with its last defeat coming on Sept. 22 at La Salle, 2-1. On the road, the Lady Flames are averaging 3.00 goals per game and 15.36 shots per contest.

Raising the Barr
Liberty's sister trio of Natalie, Bethany and Serena Barr have combined to score 33 goals and 32 assists this season. Natalie Barr has been named the NorPac East Division Offensive Player of the Week four times this season and was tabbed the East Offensive Player of the Year and an all-conference honoree for the second consecutive year. The sophomore was also named to the NorPac All-Tournament team this past weekend.

Serena Barr earned two Rookie of the Week plaudits as well as a Defensive Player of the Week award. She earned the conference's Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year honor, marking the second-consecutive year Liberty has claimed the award.

Bethany Barr claimed a NorPac East Rookie of the Week honor once and the Offensive Player of the Week award once as well. The freshman tallied two goals and an assist during the conference tournament, earning a spot on the All-Tournament team with sister Natalie.

Winning With Youth
In Saturday's NorPac title game against No. 10 Stanford, Liberty started eight players who were either freshman or sophomores. Sixty-nine of the Lady Flames' 82 goals this year have been scored by underclassmen. Liberty has just three seniors on the squad, and 18 of the 28 players on the roster are either freshman or sophomores.

Delaware at a Glance
The Blue Hens punched their ticket to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship with a 5-1 victory over Northeastern on Sunday in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship. Delaware will be making its fifth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and first since 2009. The Blue Hens enter Wednesday's matchup with a 16-4 overall record and a No. 14 national ranking, according the latest 2013 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll.

Delaware ranks first in the CAA in both scoring margin (2.00) and scoring average (3.39). Esmee Peet, the CAA Player and Rookie of the Year, has a double-digit goal total this season, finding the back of the cage finding the back of the cage 12 times, while also adding six helpers. First-team All-Conference honoree Michaela Patzner leads the Blue Hens' high-powered offensive attack with a league-best 40 points (16 goals, 8 assists). Meghan Winesett paces the squad and the CAA with nine assists.

Goalkeeper Sarah Scher guides a defense which leads the league in goals-allowed per game (1.40). Scher has a CAA-best six shutouts this season, while ranking second in the league in goals-against average (1.40). The second-team All-Conference member ranks third in the league in save percentage (.765).