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Liberty Field Hockey to Compete at BIG EAST Championship Starting on Thursday

April 20, 2021  Lynchburg. Va.   RSS
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Liberty will take on Old Dominion in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on Thursday.

Liberty will take on Old Dominion in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on Thursday.

Live Video: Liberty vs. Old Dominion (Thursday)
Live Stats: Liberty vs. Old Dominion (Thursday)
Live Video: BIG EAST Title Game (Saturday) 
Live Stats: BIG EAST Title Game (Saturday) 
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No. 2 seed Liberty will head to Villanova for the BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship, which gets started on Thursday.

The sixth-ranked Lady Flames (13-2, 10-2 BIG EAST) will begin their quest for their first BIG EAST crown, Thursday at 4 p.m. versus the No. 3 seed and 16th-ranked Old Dominion Monarchs (8-4, 8-3 BIG EAST).

The four-team BIG EAST Championship presented by JEEP will be hosted by Villanova at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pa. The winner of Thursday's semifinal showdown between Liberty and ODU will take on either No. 1 seed and seventh-ranked Connecticut Huskies (9-1, 8-1 BIG EAST) or the No. 4 seed Temple Owls (8-9, 4-8 BIG EAST). The Huskies and Owls will meet in the first semifinal on Thursday at 1 p.m.

The tournament champion will earn an automatic bid to the 2021 Division I Field Hockey Championship. This year's NCAA Tournament will feature 12 teams, including 10 conference champions at two at-large selections.

Liberty in in search of its first BIG EAST title. The Lady Flames won NorPac Champoinship crowns in 2013 and 2014. Liberty played as an independent in 2015 prior to join the BIG EAST for the 2016 season.

The Lady Flames won 10 BIG EAST regular season games against two losses in conference to earn the No. 2 seed. Liberty holds a 31-9 record in BIG EAST regular season play since joining the league. The Lady Flames played 12 conference games this spring. In a normal year, Liberty competes in seven league games.

All BIG EAST Championship games will be streamed live on the BIG EAST Digital Network presented by SoFi. Nick Mantegna and Ali Campbell will be on the call from the Proving Grounds.

BIG EAST Championship Schedule
Thursday (Semifinals)
1 p.m. – No. 1 seed Connecticut (9-1) vs. No. 4 seed Temple (8-9)
4 p.m. – No. 2 seed Liberty (13-2) vs. No. 3 seed Old Dominion (8-4)

Saturday, April 24 (Championship Game)
12 p.m. – Winners of semifinals

Liberty and Old Dominion by the Numbers
• 2021 Series Record: Liberty is 3-1 against Old Dominion this season.
• Liberty swept Old Dominion, March 6 and 7 at the Liberty Field Hockey Field. The two teams split a pair of games at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex in Norfolk, Va., March 26 and 27.
• Game 1 – Liberty won 4-1 (March 6); Game 2 – Liberty won 2-0 (March 7); Game 3 – Old Dominion won 2-1 (March 26); Game 4 – Liberty won 4-2 (March 27)
• Combined score in 2021 – Liberty has outscored ODU 11-5 in the four meetings this season.
• Liberty's top performers vs. ODU this season (four games): Daniella Rhodes (6 g, 1 a, 13 pts), Jill Bolton (4 g, 3 a, 11 pts), Azul Iritxity Irigoyen (3-1 record, 1.25 GAA, 13 saves, .722 save pct., 1 shutout).
• All-time series: Liberty leads 7-5
• All-time series within BIG EAST play: Liberty leads 6-4
• All-time series in the BIG EAST Championship: Tied 1-1 | Liberty defeated Old Dominion 3-1 in the semifinals in 2017, Old Dominion defeated Liberty 3-1 in the semifinals in 2019

Lady Flames News and Notes
• Liberty is ranked sixth in the country in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. The Lady Flames have been ranked among the top six teams in the nation in each of the first six national polls. Liberty garnered a program-best No. 4 national ranking on March 23, the highest ranking of any Liberty Athletics sport at the NCAA Division I level.  
• The Lady Flames are currently No. 3 in the country in the NCAA Field Hockey RPI listing.
• Liberty has received 22 weekly awards this season, 18 from the BIG EAST Conference and four at the national level from the NFHCA.
• Liberty ranks second in the nation in five different statistical categories: goals per game (3.73), scoring average (3.67), scoring margin (2.68), points per game (10.93) and assists per game (3.47).
• Lady Flames senior forward Jill Bolton is currently inside the top 10 In the country in points per game (No. 4, 2.67) and assists per game (No. 8, 0.80). She is also 11th in the nation in goals per game (0.93).
• Liberty sophomore forward Daniella Rhodes ranks No. 7 in the country in goals per game (1.07) and points per game (2.53). Freshman goalkeeper Azul Iritxity Irigoyen is seventh in the nation in goalie win-loss percentage (.833) and 10th in save percentage (.818).  
• The Lady Flames closed out the regular season with a 9-0 home win over Davidson, April 11. Old Dominion finished regular season play with a pair of victories against Providence, last Friday and Saturday.
• Liberty is 2-0 all-time playing at the Villanova Field Hockey Field. The Lady Flames defeated Villanova 4-0 in 2018 at the facility and bested the Wildcats 5-1 in 2016 in what was the inaugural game at the Villanova Field Hockey Field. It was also Liberty's first-ever BIG EAST contest.
• When the Lady Flames take the field on Thursday, it will be the first time they have competed in a BIG EAST postseason game in 531 days. Liberty last played in a BIG EAST Tournament contest on Nov. 8, 2019. The fall 2020 field hockey season was postponed to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.