The Liberty field hockey team turned in a dominant all-around effort against visiting Temple, picking up a 7-0 win on Friday at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
Agueda Moroni scored the match's first three goals, Serena Barr scored twice and totaled a career-best six points and Pippa Best and Bethany Barr each collected goals in the Lady Flames' second shutout of 2016.
With the win, Liberty locks up the No. 2 seed in the 2016 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship, which will be played next Friday and Sunday at Temple in Philadelphia, Pa. The Lady Flames improve to 7-8 overall and close out their BIG EAST schedule with a 5-2 mark, while Temple falls to 6-11 overall and 3-4 in league play.
"I am so proud of this team today. This game was a lot of to fun to coach, as the girls did a great job putting the game plan into action," said Liberty head coach Jodi Murphy. "Our pressure out of the gates was imperative to our success this afternoon. We knew we need to bring high energy and effort in the first phase of play."
A press release regarding information on the BIG EAST Tournament will be coming out later this evening.
Moroni started the scoring less than seven minutes in. After Liberty drew a penalty corner and Temple failed to clear it out of its zone, Moroni dribbled left and ripped a backhanded shot into the right corner of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage at 6:52.
Under two minutes later, Moroni struck again on another penalty corner. Mallory Fortenbaugh inserted the ball to Bethany Barr, who found Serena Barr. Serena sent a touch pass to her left to Moroni, and Moroni fired a shot that past Temple goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock. The goal in the ninth minute was Moroni's ninth of 2016 and gave Liberty a 2-0 edge.
Moroni completed the hat trick in the 17th minute, as she dribbled to the top of the circle and fired a forehanded shot past Lilliock into the goal to put the Lady Flames up, 3-0.
The goal was Moroni's 10th of the season and eighth in the last five games for the reigning BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week. Moroni became just the seventh player in program history to tally three goals in a match and the fastest player in program history to tally a hat trick, needing just 16:17 to do so.
"Agui's three early goals gave us confidence and the push we needed. Serena's execution on penalty corners was exceptional," Murphy stated. "I'm truly proud of each of the girls and the heart that everyone displayed today."
Liberty scored its fourth goal of the contest at 28:03. Freshman forward Kendra Jones controlled the ball along the right baseline and found sophomore forward Pippa Best. Best fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal cage for her fourth goal of the year to put Liberty up, 4-0.
Liberty drew a penalty corner with around two minutes to play in the first half and capitalized on its opportunity. Serena Barr found her sister Bethany Barr on the right side, and Bethany sent a shot into the left side of the goal for her fifth goal of the year at 33:50, putting the Lady Flames ahead, 5-0, a lead they would carry into intermission.
In the second half, the Lady Flames scored both their goals in nearly identical fashion. In the first instance, Jenny Kurlej won a penalty corner, Liberty's sixth of the day. Fortenbaugh sent a short corner insert to Bethany Barr. Bethany stopped the ball and fed her sister Serena Barr, who swept a ball into the left side of the goal cage to put Liberty ahead, 6-0, at 46:47.
The Lady Flames won their next penalty corner less than four minutes later, and the same combination delivered again. Fortenbaugh sent it into Bethany Barr, and Serena Barr finished it off with another sweep into the bottom left corner for her sixth goal of the season, putting Liberty ahead, 7-0, at 51:04
Liberty freshman goalkeeper Allison Schaefer was tested by the Owl offense, making eight total saves on the day in 55:13. Schaefer broke the 100-save mark and now has 101 stops on the season to go along with a 7-8 record. Junior goalkeeper Monica Hernick played the final 14:47, making one save.
Temple goalkeeper Lilliock made four saves in a losing effort before being replaced for the final 20:09 by Chloe Johnson. Midfielder Maiyah Brown recorded a team-best four shots.
Liberty held a 20-13 advantage in shots, 14-9 edge in shots on goal and 11-4 edge in penalty corners drawn.
The seven goals were the team's second-highest output of 2016. Liberty scored eight times in an 8-0 win over Georgetown on Oct. 8. Serena Barr and Bethany Barr both have 11 assists this season, which is just one shy of the program record (12), set by Bethany in 2013.
"We are beyond excited to earn the No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament in just our first season in the league. Before fixing our attention on that, however, we are excited to honor three amazing seniors on Sunday against Wake Forest," Murphy said.
The Lady Flames close out the regular season on Sunday, as they host No. 18 Wake Forest at 1 p.m. Sunday is Senior Day for the Liberty field hockey program. Prior to the start of the match, the team will take time to honor its three seniors – Serena Barr, Bethany Barr and Carrie Logie.