With a 5-1 run in the final seven minutes of play, the Lady Flames lacrosse squad notched their first victory of the season on Wednesday evening at the Liberty Lacrosse Field, besting George Washington by a score of 17-13. Liberty is now 1-1 all-time against the Colonials.
With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 1-3 on the young season while the Colonials fall to 1-2 under new head coach Tracy Coyne.
Liberty struck first in the fourth minute of play when leading goal scorer Sam Struss netted a free position goal. Following the ground ball by Alyssa Kidder, the ball wound up in Struss' stick where she weaved through defenders, drawing the foul. At the top of the eight-meter mark, Struss had her eyes set on the lead, ripping the ball past Mackenzie Jones for the 1-0 advantage.
The Colonials answered with two goals of their own over the next four minutes. Bailey Forcier netted her second goal of the season and assisted in her first goal on the year when Michaela Lynch notched George Washington's second goal of the contest.
Liberty answered with two goals of its own to take the second lead in the opening stanza at 3-2, forcing Coyne to call the Colonials' first timeout. Freshman Katy Pridemore notched her seventh goal of the season following the Lady Flames' second successful free position shot with 21:44 left in the first half.
Liberty captured the 3-2 advantage when co-captain and redshirt senior Nina Dunay notched her seventh goal of the season. Following a caused turnover and ground ball pick up by freshman Lindsey McNamara, the ball ended up with Struss who dumped the pass off to Dunay for the capitalization.
The Colonials scored three unanswered goals over the next 10 minutes, including two goals by leading goal scorer, Rachel Mia, and one more goal by Forcier.
Down 5-3 with five minutes left in the opening stanza, the Lady Flames successfully knotted the contest at five apiece entering halftime. Both strikes came from Kallie Britton for her first and second goals of the season. Britton's first goal came from an uncontested entry into the Colonials' zone. The junior's second goal arrived after Liberty successfully cleared the ball from its zone with 30 seconds left to play in the half. Britton grabbed the ball and took a shot on for the equalizer with 26 ticks left in the opening stanza.
Liberty carried the momentum into the break, coming out in the second half firing on all cylinders. Dunay netted her eighth goal of the season and second of the contest, just 18 seconds into the second half to take the 6-5 lead.
Shortly after, Struss collected her 11th goal of the campaign to take the 7-5 lead. Struss' goal came about thanks to nifty footwork by the senior. With a defender draped all over her, Struss put the brakes on and then spun around, leaving the defender flat on her backside. Struss whipped a shot into the back of the net to capitalize the highlight.
George Washington went on a 4-1 run over the next six minutes to take the 9-8 lead over the red and blue.
Liberty's lone goal during the Colonials' run came from sophomore Michaela Rich, collecting her fifth goal of the season. Co-captain, Morgan Becker was planted at the top of the eight-meter line, with a look at goal. Becker dished the ball off to Rich who was on the right side of the net. Rich caught the ball and zipped it past Jones' right side before the goalie even had a chance to react.
Head coach Kelly Nangle called a timeout after giving up the lead. Like they have all season, the Lady Flames responded after the timeout with a run of their own. Liberty tacked on three unanswered goals to regain the lead to 11-9.
The first two goals of the Liberty scoring run came from Pridemore. The Vero Beach, Fla., native corralled her eighth goal of the year and second of the contest at the 20:24 mark. Pridemore wasted no time on her free position attempt, placing the ball in the back of the net. Less than a minute later, the freshman struck again, this time straight off the draw control. After Struss was awarded the draw, she was able to find Britton streaking to the net. Britton looked as if she would shoot, dumping the ball off to Pridemore instead. The illusive freshman gathered her composure and notched her second-career hat trick, regaining the 10-9 lead for the Lady Flames.
Becker netted her first goal of the season to extend the Lady Flames' lead to two. With 13:21 left in the final frame, Struss found Becker for the look on goal. Becker seized her opportunity and whirled the ball past the left shoulder of Jones.
Following a Colonial goal that cut the lead to one with 11:39 left to play, Becker netted her second goal of the season just eight seconds after George Washington's goal. This time it was Rich who set up the redshirt senior's second goal of the contest to push the lead back to two.
The Colonials netted two unanswered goals to even the score at 12-12 with 9:32 left to play, setting up for the dramatic finish. Over the final minutes of play, it was Liberty who showed poise and control, finished the contest on a 5-1 run.
Taking their time strategically, the Lady Flames waited for the right opportunity to strike. For nearly three minutes, Liberty held the ball in the attacking end, ripping two shots on net with one finding the back of the nylon. Rich put the Lady Flames ahead for good with 6:26 left to play when Struss secured her third assist of the season. Rich's goal marked her sixth of the season and placed the Lady Flames ahead, 13-12, a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest.
After a George Washington timeout, Pridemore netted her fourth goal of the contest to provide some breathing room for the red and blue. The freshman maintained composure in a pressure situation, netting her 10th goal of the season following a Colonial foul, extending the lead to 14-12.
Becker secured her third goal of the season with 3:40 left to play, extending the lead to three goals for the Lady Flames. Becker's goal was set up by Rich for her fourth assist of the season and second of the contest.
Pridemore capped off the four-goal spurt with 3:18 left to play when she notched her 11th goal of the season and fifth of the match. Pridemore's five goals marks the second player in school history with five or more goals in a single game during her freshman season. The only other player to do so was Becker, who notched six goals against Bucknell on March 21, 2012 in Lewisburg, Pa.
In the final three minutes of play, the two squads traded goals. Liberty's final goal came from Britton who notched her own hat trick with 1:08 left to play in the contest. Britton's goal capped off all scoring, securing the final 17-13 mark in favor of the Lady Flames.
For the contest, shots were an even 31-31 while Liberty notched 15 saves to just seven from the Colonials.
The Lady Flames won 18 draw controls as opposed to 14 from George Washington, and capitalized on three of the four free position attempts in the contest.
Juliann Elmer notched her first career victory as a starter for Liberty, recording 15 saves to push her mark to 65 saves on the season.
The Lady Flames return to action on Saturday when they host in-state opponent Richmond. The contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.