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2015 Big South Women's Soccer Championship Preview

October 30, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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With its 1-0 win over Longwood, Tuesday night, the Liberty women's soccer team earned the No. 1 seed in the 2015 Big South Championship. The Lady Flames (10-7-1, 8-2 Big South) will host No. 8 seed Winthrop (6-8-3, 3-5-2 Big South) in the quarterfinals, Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets for the event may be purchased by clicking the link above. The first 250 fans will receive a mini Liberty soccer ball. Free hot chocolate will be on hand, along with buy one, get one free hot dogs.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
A free live video stream will be available courtesy of the Liberty Flames Sports Network and the Big South Network. Live stats powered by StatBroadcast will also be available by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel on

A Look at Liberty
The Liberty women's soccer team captured its second straight Big South regular-season championship, Tuesday night at the Longwood Athletics Complex, defeating Longwood, 1-0.

Baylee Gillmore posted the lone goal for Liberty in the 49th minute thanks to an assist by senior midfielder Brittany Aanderud. The assist by Aanderud was her sixth on the season and 30th of her career, giving her sole possession of the Big South all-time assist record.

With the win, Liberty closes out the regular season with a 10-7-1 record and 8-2 mark in conference play. The Lady Flames have amassed 24 Big South regular-season wins in the last three years, garnering eight conference victories for the third consecutive year. Longwood concludes the regular season with a 9-7-2 overall mark and a 5-3-2 record in league play.

Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the entire contest, recording two saves to pick up her 31st career shutout and eighth of the season. The netminder is two shutouts away from tying the Big South record of 33.

Five Lady Flames Earn Big South All-Conference Honors
After garnering its second straight Big South regular-season championship, five Liberty women's soccer players have earned all-conference honors, as voted on by the conference's coaches.

Sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel headlines the group of Lady Flames, picking up first team and all-academic team honors. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Holly Van Noord and senior midfielder Rebekah Page were selected to the conference's second team. Freshmen forwards Devon Jones and Aly Hill each earned all-freshman team honors to round out Liberty's honorees.

Van Noord Named Big South Defensive Player of the Week
Liberty women's soccer goalkeeper Holly Van Noord was named the Big South Player of the Week for games played Oct. 19-27, as announced by the conference office, Wednesday. The weekly honor is the second for the Lady Flames this season and the second for Van Noord, who also received the award in 2013.

Winthrop at a Glance
Winthrop earned the No. 8 seed in the 2015 Big South Women's Championship after defeating Presbyterian on Tuesday, 1-0.  Samantha Prytulak scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to defeat the Blue Hose.

Prytulak paces the Lady Eagles' offense with three goals and two assists on the season. Karly Gustafson and Caroline Duncan have split time in goal. Duncan has made 45 saves and owns a goals-against average of 1.46. Meanwhile, Gustafson has three shutouts along with 44 saves and a goals-against average of 1.26.

Winthrop enters Sunday's matchup holding a 7-6-2 edge in the all-time series versus the Lady Flames. In the two squads' most recent meeting on Oct. 21, the Lady Flames defeated the Lady Eagles in Rock Hill, S.C., 3-0. A trio of Lady Flames posted goals for Liberty – freshman forward Devon Jones, sophomore midfielder Jordan Kestel and freshman midfielder Lauren Weygandt. Jones and Kestel each added assists, while sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel contributed a helper on Kestel's marker.

The Last Time …
The Lady Eagles are no stranger to being the No. 8 seed in the Big South Championship against Liberty. In 2009, No. 1 seed Liberty and No. 8 seed Winthrop played to a scoreless draw in their quarterfinal matchup in Charleston, S.C. However, the Lady Eagles advanced to the semifinals on penalty kicks, 5-4.

Liberty's All-Time Marks in Big South Championship
The Lady Flames are 20-8-7 all-time in the Big South Championship, capturing titles in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2013. Liberty is first in the conference in tournament wins and is third all-time with four championships. Radford and High Point are tied for the all-time record with five titles.

Last season marked Liberty's seventh finals appearance, tying UNC Asheville for the most Big South finals appearances in conference history.

The Lady Flames' most common opponents in the tournament have been High Point (4-1-1), Radford (4-1), Charleston Southern (2-1-1) and UNC Asheville (2-0-2). The Lady Flames have also played Coastal Carolina (2-0), Winthrop (0-1-1), Gardner-Webb (0-0-1), Campbell (1-0), Longwood (0-0-1) and former conference members UMBC (0-3), Elon (2-1), Howard (1-0), Towson (0-1) and Birmingham Southern (1-0).

Lady Flames and the Big South Championship
Liberty appeared in the finals for the second straight year in 2014, which resulted in High Point winning the conference title via penalty kicks (Nov. 9, 2014).

The Lady Flames captured their fourth Big South Championship in 2013, defeating Radford in the finals, 5-0 (Nov. 10, 2013). Liberty's other titles came in 2000, 2001 and 2005.

With their appearance in 2014, the Lady Flames have played in seven conference finals, posting a 4-1-2 record. Liberty made three straight trips to the Big South final from 1999 to 2001.

Liberty fell in its first appearance in the title game in 1999, 3-2, in overtime to Elon. The following year, the Lady Flames claimed their first championship with a 2-0 victory over Elon and then made it back-to-back titles with another 2-0 title-game win over the Phoenix in 2001.

Liberty returned to the title game in 2005 and added its third trophy since 2000, with a 3-0 victory over UNC Asheville.