For a second consecutive day, Liberty topped visiting Villanova 7-1 in BIG EAST action at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
Liberty stays unbeaten both overall (3-0) and in BIG EAST (2-0) play in 2021 with Sunday's victory. Villanova falls to 0-2 both overall and in conference competition.
The Lady Flames received goals from five different players in the win, led by junior forward Charlotte Vaanhold's first career three-goal game. Reigning NFHCA Division I Offensive Player of the Week Daniella Rhodes tallied her sixth goal of the season, while senior forward Jill Bolton added her fourth goal of the year. Sophomore defender Jodie Conolly scored her first goal in a Liberty uniform, and second-year defender Bethany Dykema scored for the first time in 2021 while compiling a career-best four points (1 g, 2 a).
Making her first career start in goal, Liberty freshman netminder Azul Iritxity Irigoyen had two saves in the first half to improve to 2-0.
Thoughts From Head Coach Nikki Parsley-Blocker "It was incredibly special to play back at home this weekend for the first time since 2019. We truly have one of the best game day experiences in NCAA field hockey. From a hockey standpoint, I was excited to see us operating at such a high level this early in the season. Moving forward, we'll look to continue staying disciplined defensively and fine tuning our corners."
Scoring Summary 11' – LIBERTY – Charlotte Vaanhold (Jill Bolton) 13' – LIBERTY – Daniella Rhodes (Kendra Jones and Bethany Dykema) | Penalty Corner 14' – LIBERTY – Charlotte Vaanhold (unassisted) 25' – LIBERTY – Jill Bolton (Darby Brennan) 38' – VILLANOVA – Meghan Mitchell (Katie Capablo) 43' – LIBERTY – Jodie Conolly (Kendra Jones and Bethany Dykema) | Penalty Corner 46' – LIBERTY – Bethany Dykema (Daniella Rhodes) | Penalty Corner 60' – LIBERTY – Charlotte Vaanhold (unassisted)
Goalkeepers W: Azul Iritxity Irigoyen 2-0, two saves L: Claire Borman 0-2, seven saves
Turning Point The Lady Flames scored three times late in the first period and never looked back. Liberty's Vaanhold scored her first goal of the day at the 10:11 mark on a beautiful setup from Bolton. Bolton dribbled into the left side of the circle and sent a backhand pass across to a sliding Vaanhold, who tipped it in for a 1-0 Lady Flames advantage.
Liberty tacked on two more goals late in the quarter. Rhodes' goal came following an impressive hustle play on the defensive end. The sophomore dove and knocked a Villanova pass off a defender's foot inside the circle, setting up a penalty corner. The forward's hustle paid off, as she buried a forehand shot into the left corner at 12:49, assisted by Kendra Jones and Bethany Dykema. Liberty continued to apply pressure and broke through 62 seconds later (13:51), as Vaanhold tallied her second goal of the day off a rebound for a 3-0 Lady Flames lead after one.
Key Stats & Notes • Liberty held a 22-7 advantage in total shots and 20-4 edge in shots on goal, Sunday. The Lady Flames outshot the Wildcats 51-13 during the weekend series. • Liberty had the 6-2 edge in penalty corners over Villanova and 14-2 advantage in the two games, this weekend. The Lady Flames scored three goals on short corners today after not scoring a penalty corner goal on 17 attempts in the first two games of the season. • The Lady Flames improve to 7-0 all-time against Villanova. This is the first time since 2018 that Liberty scored seven or more goals in back-to-back games. • Rhodes' goal was her 19th in only 21 career games. She already ranks tied for ninth in program history with 19 career goals. • Conolly's first goal in a Liberty uniform came late in the third quarter (42:21) on a penalty corner shot into the left side. Jones and Bethany Dykema also assisted on that goal. Conolly, a transfer from Boston University, scored eight goals in 2019 with the Terriers and was the Patriot League Freshman of the Year. • Jones' two assists today give her 17 career assists, the eighth most in school history.
Up Next Liberty will head on the road for a series at Temple (1-2, 0-2 BIG EAST), next Saturday and Sunday. Both games are scheduled to start at noon at Howarth Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Lady Flames have taken five of the six all-time meetings between the two schools and are 4-0 against the Owls since joining the BIG EAST in 2016.
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