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Liberty to Face No. 2 seed North Carolina in NCAA Tournament

November 7, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Big South Champion Liberty will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to face the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament on Saturday. Match time at Fetzer Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Yesterday, Liberty (14-7) won its second straight Big South title, defeating High Point, 2-1 in overtime to capture the program's Big South record sixth title and third in the last four years.

The Big South Champions will now square off with the Tar Heels (13-3-4) for the second consecutive year in the NCAA opening round and the third time overall in program history. The Lady Flames fell 3-0 at Fetzer Field, last season.

Regarded as one of the most storied programs in NCAA Division I women's soccer, North Carolina has won 21 of 34 NCAA national championships all-time. The Tar Heels are the No. 2 seed in their bracket.

Liberty enters the contest with an eight-game winning streak, the longest in program history. The streak is tied for the fourth longest active streak in the country.

Before Sunday's contest, the Lady Flames also recorded seven consecutive shutouts, setting another school mark. Going into yesterday's championship game, Liberty had not allowed a goal in 673:57 of play.

With the victory, Lady Flames Head Coach Nate Norman becomes the first coach in program history to lead his team to the Big South title in their first year.

Outscoring its opponents, 30-3, in the month of October, the Liberty attack has been led by Big South Freshman of the Year Gabrielle Farrell, Big South All-Conference first team member Isbella Habuda and Big South Tournament MVP Jennifer Knoebel. Habuda leads Liberty in goals with 10 and points with 25. Meanwhile, Farrell, who scored the winning goal in overtime yesterday, has posted the second most points of any freshman in school history. The forward has compiled 24 points with eight goals and eight assists.

Knoebel scored three goals and two assists over the Lady Flames' three games in the tournament to earn MVP honors. The junior forward has seven goals and seven assists for 21 points, this season.

Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord, the Big South Defensive Player of Year, has collected a Big South and Liberty record 41 career shutouts. The redshirt senior leads the Big South with a 0.73 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage.

Van Noord has been aided by a strong group of defenders. All-conference team member Sami Santos, all-tournament team member Jordan Kestel and Hadley Jones have helped to limit the Lady Flames' opponents to a Big South-leading 0.85 goals per game this season.