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Liberty Claims Fifth Big South Championship with 1-0 Victory

November 8, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty earns its fifth Big South Championship and second in three years with a 1-0 win over Campbell on Sunday (photo courtesy of Big South Photos).
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The Liberty women's soccer team earned its fifth Big South Championship in program history, Sunday afternoon at Bryan Park, defeating No. 3 seed Campbell, 1-0. The Lady Flames will now await their opponent in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, with the selection show airing live on NCAA.com, Monday, at 4:30 p.m.

Senior midfielder Brittany Aanderud posted the lone goal for the Lady Flames during the first period. With the championship win, Liberty (13-7-1, 8-2 Big South) is now tied with High Point and Radford for the most women's soccer conference titles in Big South history. The Lady Flames also conclude the weekend with a Big South Championship record 23 tournament victories.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Holly Van Noord closed out the afternoon with seven saves, collecting her 10th shutout of the season and 33rd for her career. Van Noord's clean sheet ties her with former Radford netminder Che' Brown (2010-13) for the Big South's career shutout record.

Senior defender Alex Mack was selected as Big South Tournament MVP with three other Lady Flames joining her on the all-tournament team – sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel, Aanderud and Van Noord.

The Lady Flames looked to score early, with a pair of close opportunities during the ninth minute. Following a shot by freshman forward Aly Hill that was blocked, senior forward Crystal Elmers fired an attempt at the Campbell net. However, Lawson was there to scoop up the ball, keeping Liberty off the board.

Campbell tried to create some offense of its own in the ensuing minutes, with Big South Attacking Player of the Year Ashley Clark taking two shots on goal. Van Noord thwarted both attempts in the 12th and 15th minutes, preventing the Camels from gaining an advantage.

Aanderud lit up the scoreboard for the Lady Flames in the 21st minute. After the midfielder's first attempt was saved by Lawson, Aanderud followed up on the rebound, chipping the ball into the right corner for the 1-0 lead. Aanderud's goal marked her fourth of the season and 17th of her career.

Van Noord's stellar play in the net allowed the Lady Flames to maintain its lead heading into halftime. In the 39th minute, Van Noord stopped another attempt from Clark, popping the shot over the crossbar. Less than two minutes later, Payton Ormsby applied pressure to Van Noord, booting a ball at the Liberty net. The netminder deflected the shot and corralled Ormsby's follow attempt up attempt.

Sophomore Jordan Kestel tried to give the Lady Flames an insurance marker with less than three minutes left in the period. The midfielder's header attempt was saved by a Campbell defender, making it 1-0 in favor of Liberty at halftime.

The second period turned into a defensive battle, with each team being held to three shots.

Liberty's best look at a second goal came in the 52nd minute, when a shot by Hill bounced off the Campbell crossbar. About a minute later, Aanderud looked for her second marker of the contest, resulting in a save for Lawson.

Van Noord's final save of the contest occurred in the 83rd minute, stopping a shot from Shannon Wratchford to seal the 1-0 victory.

2015 Big South All-Tournament Team
Alex Mack (MVP) – Liberty
Jennifer Knoebel – Liberty
Holly Van Noord – Liberty
Brittany Aanderud – Liberty

Ashley Clark – Campbell
Sammy Lawson – Campbell
Cydney Smith – Campbell
Amber Adams – Coastal Carolina
Daniella Famili – Coastal Carolina
Kelsey Perrell – High Point
Taylor Thompson – High Point
Megan David – Winthrop
McKenzie Davis – Charleston Southern
Emma Houser – UNC Asheville
Olivia Colella – Longwood