Senior midfielder Brittany Aanderud
Making their second NCAA Tournament appearance in the past three years, the 2015 Big South Champion Liberty Lady Flames squared off with the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels, Friday evening at Fetzer Field.
Despite a solid defensive effort by the Lady Flames, frustrating the Tar Heels' attack at certain times during the first-round match, North Carolina defeated Liberty, 3-0.
The Lady Flames six-game winning streak and season comes to end with the setback. Liberty finishes its season with a 13-8-1 record.
North Carolina, the only team to make the NCAA Tournament field in each of the 34 years of the tournament's history, moves to 14-4-1 and advances to the second round of the tournament against the winner of Texas A&M and Washington, next week. Jessie Scrapa, Megan Buckingham and Alexa Newfield each scored a goal for the Tar Heels.
Van Noord finishes the season with 33 career shutouts, tying former Radford keeper Che' Brown (2010-13) for the Big South career record.
Lady Flames senior Brittany Aanderud also cemented her name in the program's record book. The midfielder set a new career assist mark with 30 and finishes second on the school's all-time list behind Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis (1998-2001) with 64 points.
In addition, as a member of the Liberty starting "11" on Friday, senior defender Jamie Bouffard completes her career with 86 games played, the most by a Lady Flame in program history.
Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard in the contest's opening half.
During the opening 20 minutes of the first half, the Lady Flames held off early offensive pressure by North Carolina with solid, disciplined defense. The Tar Heels fired six shots during the span, but were unable to place a shot on goal to force Van Noord to make a save.
Liberty's first shot of the contest came during the 22nd minute. With the Lady Flames counterattacking, forward Alyssa Hill took a long pass from Aanderud in the center of the field at the top of the 18-yard box, pushing a shot wide of the right post.
The Lady Flames' attack garnered the contest's first corner kick during the 34th minute. However, the kick from the right side of the field was cleared out of harm's way, keeping the game scoreless.
After holding the Tar Heels offense in check during the middle 15 minutes of the half, North Carolina's attack finished the half by working Kate Morris open for a shot in the closing minutes. However, the midfielder's shots went wide, sending the match to halftime at 0-0.
North Carolina jumped on the scoreboard during the opening minutes of the second half. During the 47th minute, the Tar Heels converted on the second of back-to-back corner kicks. Scarpa headed Alexa Newfield's corner kick into the right side of the net for her eight goal of the year and a 1-0 edge.
Off the reset, Liberty's Aanderud moved into open space during the 48th minute and ripped a shot from 25-yard out, forcing a save by North Carolina goalkeeper Harris.
An outstanding save by Van Noord kept the Liberty deficit at one during the 52nd minute. A shot by Bowen looked like it was going to find the lower right corner of the goal. However, the Lady Flames goalkeeper dove and flipped the shot over the net to prevent the score.