Bethany Barr's goal in the 63rd minute proved to be the game winner in Liberty's 1-0 win over Providence on Friday. (Photo credit: Mitch Lefft)
Senior Bethany Barr scored the game-winning goal in the 64th minute, lifting No. 2 seed Liberty to a 1-0 victory over No. 3 seed Providence in the semifinals of the 2016 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship at Howarth Field on Friday.
With the win, the Lady Flames (8-9) advance to Sunday's title game of the BIG EAST Championship in their first year in the conference. Liberty will take on No. 1 seed UConn (19-1), an 8-1 winner over No. 4 seed Temple earlier in the day on Friday.
Barr's goal came at 63:05. The senior drove the right baseline and fired a backhanded strike off the near post. The ball then hit Providence goalkeeper Megan Guilbert (eight saves) and rolled into the goal cage. The goal was Barr's sixth of the year and second game winner of the season.
"Firstly, I want to say congratulations to Providence on a great season and an excellent game this afternoon. They are such a hardworking group of girls and fight to the final whistle," said Liberty head coach Jodi Murphy. "I am so pleased with our side today. They did not give up. We knew if we kept putting pressure on, one would fall. Providence played a great match defensively and shut down several chances, but I couldn't be more proud of Bethany, taking her chance and finding a way to get the ball in the goal in the final stretch of the game."
Liberty freshman goalkeeper Allison Schaefer recorded her second shutout of 2016, making five saves in the win. She now has 115 saves this season, which is three shy of tying the single-season program record of 118, set by Ann Jefferis in 2011.
The Lady Flames applied early pressure, firing seven shots and generating two penalty corner attempts in the first 11:15 of play. Liberty held a 5-0 advantage in penalty corners drawn in the first half and a 14-4 edge in shots (7-1 shots on goal) in the first stanza.
Liberty drew a penalty corner as time expired in the first half but could not convert, leaving the match scoreless at intermission.
In the second half, Liberty held a 9-7 edge in shots and 4-3 edge in short corners drawn. Prior to Barr's late goal, the Lady Flames came up empty on two penalty corner chances. Both Bethany and Serena Barr had shots blocked by the Providence defense.
For the match, Liberty outshot Providence, 23-11, and drew nine penalty corners, compared to three for the Friars. Serena Barr and Bethany Barr led the Lady Flames with six and five shots, respectively, while freshman Agueda Moroni, sophomore Pippa Best and junior Alynn Richardson each put two shots on goal. Megan Hamilton paced the Friars with four shots.
The 2016 BIG EAST Championship title game will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Howarth Field at the Temple Sports Complex. The game will be streamed live on the BIG EAST Digital Network via FOX Sports Go.