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Liberty Pulls Away in 2nd Half for 19-9 Victory Over Radford, Wednesday Night

April 18, 2018  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Browne scored twice in Wednesday's 19-9 win at Radford.

Browne scored twice in Wednesday's 19-9 win at Radford.

Liberty women's lacrosse pulled away from host Radford on Wednesday evening at Cupp Stadium, using a 7-1 run over the final 17:59 to defeat the Highlanders, 19-9.

The Lady Flames led, 12-8, when head coach Kelly Nangle took a timeout with just under 18 minutes to go. Liberty, which never trailed in the game, capped off the Big South win with a seven-goal barrage in the closing minutes to win by 10.

Liberty is now 12-4 overall on the season following its third straight victory. The Lady Flames are 5-1 in the Big South, matching their most conference wins in a season in school history. Radford drops to 5-10 overall and 2-4 in the Big South following the setback.

Liberty can clinch a first-round bye and a top-two seed in the 2018 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship with a win at Campbell on Saturday.

"At this point in the season, every win is a big win. I am super proud of how we played collectively and relied on some people to step up who haven't gotten a lot of time, and they stepped up in big ways," Nangle said. "We made plays when we needed to and finished strong. We are excited to get to work and prepare for a very good Campbell team."

Ten different players scored for the visiting Lady Flames, led by redshirt senior Michaela Rich's game-high four-goal effort. Rich's third goal of the day, coming at the 20:29 mark of the second half, was her 100th career goal.

Junior midfielder Brianna McCaffrey and sophomore midfielder Carly White both tallied three goals, while senior attacker Abby Britton and freshman midfielder Emily Browne each scored two times. The Lady Flames' Kayla Foster had a game-high four assists, while Jenna Joyal added three helpers. The Highlanders' Callie Bonnel and Adrian Rius both tallied a hat trick for the hosts.

Lady Flames junior goalkeeper Katherine Widrick (5-1) drew her first start of the year and picked up her fifth victory, making 11 saves against nine goals allowed in a full 60 minutes of action. Radford's Hannah Rosen (1-2) made 14 saves against 19 goals surrendered in a losing cause.  

The Lady Flames built up a four-goal lead (5-1) in the game's first 15 minutes. Liberty's Britton and Browne scored two goals apiece during that stretch, and freshman attacker Brooke Bryan scored as well.

Britton tallied the contest's first two goals in the opening 3:17 of the game. Her first goal came on a pass from Foster, while Joyal assisted on the other, making it 2-0, Lady Flames.

Radford's Bonnel scored a free-position marker at the 23:32 mark to trim the Liberty lead to 2-1 before Browne delivered back-to-back goals just 75 seconds apart (21:20 mark and 20:05 mark) to up the Lady Flames' lead to 4-1. Both of Browne's goals were assisted by fellow freshman Mia Toscano. Liberty's lead grew to 5-1 following a free-position tally from Bryan with 15:12 to play.

Radford's Rius converted a free-position marker under a minute later (14:20), but Liberty's McCaffrey countered with her own free-position goal at the 11:51 mark, making it 6-2, Lady Flames. Liberty outscored Radford, 3-2, over the final 11-plus minutes of the opening stanza, receiving goals from Rich, Carly White and Hannah Quast. Quast's goal at the 2:04 mark, her 21st of the season, was the final goal of the half that sent Liberty into the break with a 9-4 lead.

The Lady Flames added to their lead with goals from Rich and Joyal, making it 11-4 with 26:21 left. Joyal's goal, in which she collected a pass from Foster right-handed, switched to her left, and fired a strike past Radford goalkeeper Rosen for her 24th tally of the season, brought the lead up to seven.

Radford answered with a 4-1 run over the next eight-plus minutes, cutting the Liberty lead to 12-8 with 17:59 remaining. During that spurt, Rius scored twice, while Brittany Rinaldi and Lindsey Carroll each found the back of the net.

Forty seconds after Liberty's timeout at the 17:59, White scored a left-handed goal to increase the lead to five (13-8). McCaffrey and Rich (free-position goal) scored 57 seconds apart (12:17 and 11:20), increasing the Lady Flames' lead to seven at 15-8. McCaffrey's marker was a man-down goal as the shot clock expired, her 37th goal of the season.

Back-to-back free-position goals from Rich and White increased the lead to nine (17-8) with just over nine minutes left. Lady Flames freshman Anna Keebler got into the mix, scoring her ninth goal of the season at the 5:25 for Liberty's sixth unanswered goal and an 18-8 advantage.

Rinaldi scored with 3:58 left for Radford, and the Lady Flames' Grace Fletcher put the stamp on the win with a goal at the 2:52 mark. Fletcher's ninth goal of the year, assisted by Joyal, brought the score to 19-9, the eventual final score.

Liberty held a 43-29 advantage shots in the game and 20-19 edge in ground balls. The Lady Flames, who lead the nation in caused turnovers per game, had 12 more on Wednesday, compared to just five for the Highlanders. Toscano and White had three apiece to pace Liberty.

Radford won the battle for draw controls, 19-11, with a game-high seven coming from Rius. The Highlanders were also more successful on free-position shots (5-for-9), compared to 4-for-15 for the Lady Flames.

Liberty is now 3-0 in the all-time series with Radford. The Lady Flames, with their 12th victory of the year, have now doubled their win total from a year ago (6).

Liberty will travel to Buies Creek, N.C., for its regular-season finale at Big South foe Campbell (8-8, 4-2 BSC) on Saturday at 1 p.m.