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Early Second Half Surge Lifts Liberty to 3-2 Win at Longwood

September 8, 2017  Farmville, Va.  RSS
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Moroni tallied two goals on Friday at Longwood.

Moroni tallied two goals on Friday at Longwood.

Goals from Victoria O'Keeffe and Agueda Moroni in the early stages of the second half lifted Liberty field hockey to a 3-2 victory at Longwood, Friday at Burger Jackson Field.

Liberty (1-2) collects its first win of the season, giving Longwood (4-1) its first loss.

"Tonight's game was a hard-fought win. Longwood is a very physical team with a dangerous counterattack," said Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Nikki Parsley, who picked up the first victory of her head coaching career on Friday.

O'Keeffe's goal one minute into the second half broke a 1-1 tie, while Moroni's marker, her second of the game and third of the season, provided the Lady Flames a 3-1 advantage in the 40th minute.

O'Keeffe's tally came on a feed from freshman Jill Bolton from just outside the circle. The New Zealand native one-timed a shot past Longwood goalkeeper Katie Nyman for the first goal of her college career. Just over three minutes later, Moroni found a seam in the defense and sent the ball into the left side of the goal cage, extending the Lady Flames' advantage to 3-1 at 39:15.

Liberty held off a late surge from the Lancers that featured a goal from Lil-Sophie Achterwinter in the 61st and a pair of penalty corners in the final four minutes. Achterwinter's tally, her second of the year, came with the Lady Flames shorthanded following a green card.

One of the Lancers' final two short corners nearly went for a goal. Following a shot from Leonie Verstraete and save from Liberty goalkeeper Allison Schaefer, inserter Sarah Vrhovac nearly knocked a shot into the net, but Bolton was guarding the goal cage and turned aside the attempt.

The Lady Flames kept the ball out of their circle over the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Moroni applied early pressure to the Lancers' defense, getting off three shots in the first five minutes of the contest. In the 8th minute, Moroni sent a ball from outside the circle to Moniek van Aarle, whose tip was knocked over the goal cage by Nyman.

Moroni entered the scoring column in the 15th minute, giving Liberty a 1-0 lead. O'Keeffe penetrated the Longwood defense and drove towards the goal, causing Wyman to leave the goal cage. O'Keeffe batted the ball around Wyman and over to Moroni, who sent a shot into an open net. Moroni's second goal of 2017 put the Lady Flames on the scoreboard first, staking them to a 1-0 edge.

After being held without a shot for the first 29:36 of the contest, the Lancers' first scoring opportunity netted a goal. Edel Nyland ripped a shot from inside the arc that was saved by Lady Flames goalkeeper Allison Schaefer. However, Verstraete collected the rebound and ripped a shot into the cage, tying the score at 1-1 in the 30th minute.

Liberty and Longwood went into intermission tied, 1-1, despite the Lady Flames holding a 7-2 advantage in shots.

Following the Lady Flames' scoring burst at the start of the second stanza, Longwood drew five penalty corners. With Liberty leading 3-1, Lady Flames freshman Ashley Dykema thwarted a potential Lancers breakaway chance with an open-field tackle in the 59th minute, keeping the visitors' lead at two goals.

Schaefer (1-2) picked up the first victory of her sophomore campaign, requiring two saves in a winning effort. Wyman (1-1) made three saves in the match and was saddled with the loss.

The Lady Flames outshot the Lancers, 13-7, in the match, while Longwood drew five penalty corners, compared to just three for Liberty.

"I thought we did a good job to eliminate a lot of their attacking opportunities. We'll look to take the experience we garnered from this match into the Delaware match on Sunday," Parsley stated.

Liberty will play defending national champion No. 6 Delaware (4-1) on Sunday in Lynchburg. Match time is pegged for 1 p.m. at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.