Liberty field hockey produced its best offensive output of 2017, fueled by five second-half goals, to defeat Kent State, 7-2, Sunday at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
Sophomore Agueda Moroni led the Lady Flames with a six-point effort, featuring two goals and two assists, while freshman Jill Bolton tallied five points (two goals, assist) in the winning effort. Alynn Richardson, Abby Julius and Mallory Fortenbaugh each tallied markers as well, while Fortenbaugh added a pair of helpers.
Liberty improves to 3-3 and wraps up a 2-0 weekend, after also defeating Villanova on Saturday. Kent State falls to 3-6 overall with the setback.
Liberty outshot Kent State, 11-2, in the opening frame but only held a slim 2-1 lead. However, in the second half, the Lady Flames scored on five of their seven shots on frame to break the game open. Liberty recorded five penalty corner goals on the day at a 62.5 percent (5-for-8) conversion rate.
Senior Alynn Richardson struck first for Liberty in the 15th minute. After Liberty drew its second penalty corner of the match, Mallory Fortebaugh sent an insert to stick stopper Cassidy Bremner. Bremner found Bolton, who ripped a shot low towards the center of the goal cage. Richardson redirected Bolton's hit, sending the ball over Kent State goalkeeper Kylie LeBlanc's head and into the roof of the cage. Richardson's first tally of the year put Liberty ahead, 1-0.
Just over four minutes later, Abby Julius scored on a direct hit on a short corner, pushing the home side's lead to 2-0 at 18:59.
The Golden Flashes struggled to build their attack for much of the half, failing to attempt a shot for the first 32-plus minutes. Their first shot of the contest found the back of the net. Midfielder Ines Delpech sent a ball into the circle from well beyond the 25-yard line, which was redirected subtly by Shannon Talbot.
Talbot's tip darted past Liberty netminder Allison Schaefer and into the goal for her first tally of the year. Liberty held a narrow 2-1 edge at the break despite outcornering (5-0) and outshooting (11-2) Kent State.
Liberty's first short corner of the second half produced a goal to push the lead to 3-1. Fortenbaugh fired a pass to Bremner on the insert. Bremner set up Moroni, who sent a pass back to Fortenbaugh in the left side of the circle. Fortenbaugh swept the ball in past LeBlanc for her first goal of the 2017 season, providing a two-goal cushion at 39:59.
Exactly five minutes later, Moroni used some nifty stickwork to get free and score. The Argentina native entered the circle and ripped a backhanded strike past LeBlanc to her stick side high. Moroni's sixth tally of the season pushed the Liberty advantage to 4-1 at 44:59.
The Lady Flames extended their lead to 5-1 in the 53rd minute. Moroni found Bolton on a penalty corner opportunity, and Bolton sent a shot through the five-hole of LeBlanc for her second goal of the season.
In the 58th minute, Moroni converted her second marker of the day to make it 6-1, assisted by Fortenbaugh and Bremner on a short corner. Moroni's six points in the contest are tied for the eighth most in a single game in program history. The sophomore is up to 16 points (7 g, 2 a) through six games of the young season.
The Golden Flashes trimmed the deficit by one to 6-2 in the 61st minute on Alison Harmitz's second goal of the year.
Liberty's seventh and final goal of the contest came from Bolton at 67:13, a soft backhanded hit from in close past Azure Fernsler. Zosia Roberts earned her first career assist on the play. Bolton's second marker of the afternoon and third of 2017 settled the final score at 7-2.
Schaefer (3-3) made four of her five saves after intermission, earning the victory in net. LeBlanc (2-3) was credited with the loss, as she yielded four goals and made three saves in 50:07 before yielding to Fernsler (19:53, 3 GA, 0 SV).
For the game, the Lady Flames outshot the Golden Flashes, 18-11, and outcornered them, 8-5.
Liberty's seven goals is the most they have scored in a game since Oct. 28, 2016 in a 7-0 win over Temple.
Next up for the Lady Flames is a trip to the state of Connecticut. They will play at BIG EAST foe Quinnipiac on Friday at 3 p.m., followed by a Sunday matchup at Yale beginning at 2 p.m.