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Fletcher Scores Game-Winning Goal in Closing Seconds of 14-13 Liberty Win over RMU

March 5, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Grace Fletcher's late-game heroics provided Liberty a 14-13 win over Robert Morris, Thursday.

Grace Fletcher's late-game heroics provided Liberty a 14-13 win over Robert Morris, Thursday.

Liberty senior Grace Fletcher provided late-game heroics, scoring the game-winning goal with 4.2 seconds remaining to lift the Lady Flames to a 14-13 triumph over the Robert Morris Colonials on Thursday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

After the Colonials knotted the game at 13-13 with 47 seconds to play on a free-position tally from Kelsey Nelson, Lady Flames senior Carly White won the ensuing draw control, and Fletcher possessed the ball in the closing seconds. Robert Morris was charged with a three-second violation, setting up a free-position shot for Fletcher from the left side. The senior carved through the defense and found the top left side of the cage with her shot, putting Liberty ahead 14-13 with 4.2 seconds remaining in the game.

The Lady Flames improve to 3-3 on the season and 3-0 at home. Robert Morris falls to 4-2 and sees its four-match winning streak snapped.

Fletcher's first goal of the day at the 21:11 mark of the opening half provided the Lady Flames a 4-3 edge, a lead which grew to as big as six. Liberty remained in front until the Colonial's game-tying marker in the last minute of the contest.

Scoring Summary
Liberty Goals: Jenna Joyal 4, Mia Toscano 2, Leah Ruby 2, Andrea Colavito 2, Grace Fletcher 2, Anna Keebler 2
Liberty Assists: Jenna Joyal 2, Mia Toscano 2, Sarah Steenson 1, Carly White 1
Robert Morris Goals: Emilie Kim 3, Kelley Flynn 3, Clio Kerr 2, Melanie Gandy 2, Mackenzie Gandy 1, Coleen Tifft 1, Kelsey Nelson 1
Robert Morris Assists: Mackenzie Gandy 2, Colleen Tifft 2, Meghan Crouse 1, Clio Kerr 1

W: Jennifer Soriero 1-1, nine saves
L: Katelyn Miller 4-2, 12 saves

Turning Point
Liberty led 11-5 at the half but saw its lead shrink after its top two attackers, Anna Keebler (25:43 mark) and Jenna Joyal (13:08 mark), were each assessed their second yellow cards. The Lady Flames still clung to a 13-9 lead with 15:31 remaining after Joyal's fourth goal of the day, but Robert Morris scored four unanswered goals to tie it at 13-13 prior to Fletcher's game-winning goal.

Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"We really grinded it out today. Carly and Grace came through in the clutch with the final draw control and goal. I'm proud of how our girls fought and finished. We needed every single girl on our team to win this game, and they came through. Robert Morris is a great team that really challenged us. We have a lot to take away from this week and to work through next week."

First Half Summary
• Robert Morris scored the first three goals of the game to take an early 3-0 lead just 3:33 into the match.
• Liberty closed the half on 9-1 run to take a commanding 11-5 lead at the break. Andrea Colavito scored her first goal of the season during that run. With less than a second on the clock, Joyal drew a foul. The Liberty senior beat the buzzer with her ensuing shot, which sent the Lady Flames into intermission with a six-goal edge.
• Liberty's defense generated 16 caused turnovers in the opening stanza, with Steenson pacing the defensive unit with five. The Colonials converted only 41.2 percent (7-of-17) of their clear attempts in the first frame. The Lady Flames went 5-of-6 on free-position efforts, led by Mia Toscano (2-of-2). Liberty outshot Robert Morris 20-8 in the half.

Second Half Summary
• Robert Morris held a 24-12 edge in shots in the second stanza. The Colonials also converted 9-of-9 clearing opportunities.
• Liberty goalkeeper Jennifer Soriero played the final 30 minutes and made several crucial saves down the stretch to keep the Lady Flames ahead, including a save on a Clio Kerr free-position shot with 2:50 remaining. Soriero made nine stops in the half.

Key Stats & Notes
• Soriero earned her first career collegiate win in goal for the Lady Flames. The sophomore, who was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Week eight days ago, came on in relief of starter Aubrie Tarris in the second half and made nine saves. Soriero had to fend off a Robert Morris attack which attempted 24 shots in the final 30 minutes.
• Both teams recorded 32 shots on the day. Liberty held edges in ground balls (23-21) and caused turnovers (18-14). The Lady Flames held a 16-12 edge in the draw circle, aided by six draw controls apiece from Carly White and Mia Toscano.
• The Lady Flames had their best day of the season on free-position attempts, cashing in on 7-of-10 shots. Sophomore Andrea Colavito and Toscano each scored twice from free position. The Colonials converted on five of their 11 free-position attempts.
• Senior defender Sarah Steenson had a career-high six caused turnovers and matched a career best with five ground balls in the contest. The Haymarket, Va., native's six caused turnovers are tied for the third most in a single game in program history.
• Joyal scored a season-best four goals and a matched a career high with six points. Six different Lady Flames scored in the game, and all six scored two or more goals.
• The two teams combined for 17 cards in the contest. Robert Morris was assessed nine yellow cards and a green card, while Liberty received six yellow cards and one green card.

Up Next
• Liberty will have 16 days before its next game, a home contest against the High Point Panthers (1-3) on March 21. First draw is slated for noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
• The former Big South rivals last met in 2019, a 14-9 win for the Panthers over the Lady Flames in High Point, N.C.