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Liberty Downs Pacific in Season Opener

August 29, 2014  Stanford, Calif.  RSS
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Hannah Doherty notched the game winning goal in the 63rd minute.

Hannah Doherty notched the game winning goal in the 63rd minute.

The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team opened its 2014 season with a 2-1 victory over the Pacific Tigers, Friday afternoon at Varsity Field Hockey Turf at Stanford.  The win gives Liberty a 1-0 start in the NorPac Conference this season. Hannah Jones notched the Lady Flames' first goal in the 35th minute of the first half, her second consecutive season opening goal.  Hannah Doherty capitalized on an assist from freshman Cassidy Bremner in the 63rd minute of the game to give the Lady Flames the 2-1 victory.
The Tigers came out firing in the first half, outshooting Liberty 8-4 in the first half, but the Lady Flames defense held strong.

The Lady Flames capitalized on their third penalty corner with just 47 seconds left in the first half.  Jones inserted the ball to the top of the circle for a stick stop from Bremner who sent the ball across to Serena Barr for the shot.  Pacific goalkeeper, Laura Pujade blocked the shot, but the rebound rolled straight to Jones' stick, who, buried the shot into the bottom left of the cage for the 1-0 lead heading into intermission.

The match remained 1-0 until the 56th minute when the Tigers' Ali Campos notched her first goal of the season off a penalty corner to equalize the score.

Liberty's pressure on the Pacific net paid off, when Doherty connected on what would prove to be the game-winning goal with 7:02 left in the contest.  Doherty's goal came with an assist from Bremner who dribbled into the circle, laying off a pass to Doherty waiting at the left side of the cage.  Doherty's shot found the bottom left side of the cage, giving the Lady Flames the 2-1 lead.

With 2:32 left in the game, Pacific pulled its goalkeeper, opting for a kicking back, giving the team a man up advantage.  However, Liberty's defense proved stout as the Tigers failed to tally a shot during the remaining minutes of the game.

The Lady Flames tacked on 14 second-half shots to Pacific's six.  Overall, Liberty outshot the Tigers by a total of 18-14.  The Lady Flames earned 12 attacking penalty corners, compared to just four from Pacific.

Junior goalie, Mallory Cuccio, successfully stopped six of the seven shots she faced, en route to her first win of the season.

Liberty will face off against the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal, Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Varsity Field Hockey Turf.  Sunday's matchup will be the first time that the two teams will have met during the regular season.  The contest serves as a rematch of the NorPac Championship game from a season ago.