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Liberty Women's Lacrosse to Open 2018 Season at Mercer, Saturday at Noon

February 9, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Week One Lacrosse Game Notes
Live Stats
Liberty Women's Lacrosse Instagram
Liberty Women's Lacrosse Twitter

Liberty women's lacrosse will commence its 2018 season in Georgia at Mercer on Saturday afternoon.

The season opener is set to start at noon at Mercer's Five Star Stadium in Macon, Ga.

"We are looking forward to playing our first game. We have been practicing and training hard and are ready to compete," said Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle. "We are excited to kick off the 2018 season against a quality opponent."

Both Liberty and Mercer are fairly young lacrosse programs. The Lady Flames are in their ninth season of DI competition, while Mercer is only in its fourth year at the NCAA level in 2018. The two schools have never met in women's lacrosse.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live statistics, provided by Mercer Athletics Media Relations, will be available for the contest. Find the link to live stats on the women's lacrosse schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

For live in-game updates from the game, follow @libertywlax on Twitter. Also, be sure to follow "libertywlax" on Instagram for live look-ins and updates from Five Star Stadium throughout the afternoon.

Liberty Roster Close-Up
Liberty Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Kelly Nangle's 2018 roster features a blend of veteran leadership and youth. The 26-player roster is comprised of eight freshmen, seven sophomores, eight juniors and three seniors.

Senior Lindsey McNamara, redshirt senior Michaela Rich and redshirt junior Faith Wells will serve as team captains for the 2018 season.

Lady Flames News and Notes

  • Liberty returns 76.4 percent of its scoring (156-of-203 goals) from 2017. Brianna McCaffrey (40 goals) and Kayla Foster (32 goals) are the top returning goal scorers. McCaffrey's 40 goals are tied as the third-highest output in a single season in program history.
  • The Lady Flames finished third in the country in caused turnovers per game (12.47) and ground balls per game (23.42) in 2017.
  • Liberty lacrosse went 5-0 last season when scoring 16 or more goals. The Lady Flames scored a season-high 21 markers in a 21-7 win at Gardner-Webb.
  • Foster ranked 41st in the nation in assists (33), last year. The Sewickley, Pa., native is already the program's all-time leader in total assists (62) through her first two seasons.
  • McCaffrey finished 31st in the country and first in the Big South in shots per game (6.47).
  • 2017 Big South Freshman of the Year, Carly White, scored 17 goals and added eight assists for 25 points in seven conference contests, last year.
  • Goalkeepers Katherine Widrick and Aubrie Tarris are entering their junior seasons at Liberty. Widrick drew 13 starts, and Tarris started six games, including last year's opener at No. 8 Notre Dame.
  • Liberty scored 10.68 goals per game in 2017 and yielded 14.79 per game.
  • The Liberty women's lacrosse program is 2-6 all-time in season openers.

Scouting Mercer
The Mercer Bears went 13-6 overall and 7-2 in conference in 2017. The Bears finished inside the top 15 in the nation in ground balls per game (No. 2, 24.63), assists per game (No. 7, 7.84), points per game (22.53), scoring offense (No. 13, 14.68) and scoring margin (4.53).  

Mercer is led by third-year head coach Samantha Eustace. The Bears' 34-player roster features 11 seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores and 11 freshmen. Mercer's top four attackers, who all scored 41 or more goals a year ago, are all back for the 2018 season, led by senior midfielder Lindsey Zeltwanger (47 g, 51 a, 98 pts). Zeltwager finished fifth in the nation in assists and 11th in points.

Senior Haleigh Wurzel (13-6, 10.34 GAA, 156 SV) will likely handle the goalkeeping for Mercer.