Midfielder Sierra Clearwater scored five goals in Liberty's final game of its inaugural season against Howard.
Coming off an eight-goal effort against Jacksonville on Friday, the Liberty lacrosse (1-13, 1-5 NLC) team continued play in the consolation bracket of the National Lacrosse Conference Tournament on Saturday against No. 7 Howard. Despite holding the lead at halftime, the Lady Flames were unable to stop a second period surge from Desiree Cox and the Bison, falling to Howard at the Athletic Complex, 17-11.
With the defeat, Liberty's inaugural season comes to an end, while Howard moves on in the consolation bracket to play Presbyterian in the 7 p.m. game to determine fifth place.
Howard's Desiree Cox finished with a game-high seven goals. Midfielder Sierra Clearwater (So., Mechanicsville, Md.) led the Lady Flames with five tallies, including two from the free position. Chloe McIntosh (So., Dallas, Texas) concluded the contest with a hat trick, while three Lady Flames finished with one goal apiece – Kristin Crowley (So., Colorado Springs, Colorado), Anna Starling (So., Dallas, Texas) and Amanda Hornick (So., Millersville, Md.).
Howard struck first in the contest, scoring four unanswered goals in the opening 4:26. Sonja White capped off the 4-0 run, after receiving the pass from Cox and finishing the play at 25:34.
After five scoreless minutes, Liberty countered with a 4-0 run of its own, knotting it at four at 10:56. During the tear, Liberty received goals from four different players. Clearwater kick started the Lady Flames offensive attack, firing a shot past Bison goalkeeper Amber Meeks.
Following two additional tallies from McIntosh and Crowley, respectively, Starling capped of the burst, capitalizing on a helper from Hornick to even the score.
The Bison regained the lead 25 seconds later, with a goal by Cox to make it 5-4. Shortly after, the Lady Flames matched the Bison, as Hornick posted her third goal on the season to knot it again, 5-5, at 9:49. Determined to help Howard stay in command, Cox posted another tally with 9:33 remaining in the period for a 6-5, Howard lead.
The Lady Flames then reversed the trend of back-and-forth goals, going on a second 4-0 run over the next 7:19, to create a three-goal advantage. Liberty's scoring spurt, which included three-straight Clearwater markers, was cemented by McIntosh with 2:14 left in the stanza for a 9-6 lead. The Bison then closed out the half with a pair of unanswered goals from Cox, resulting in a halftime score of 9-8.
Although the scoring pace slowed in the second, Howard managed to net six-straight goals to take a 14-9 lead at the 13:00 mark. Clearwater halted Howard's run at 11:47, netting an eight-meter marker to trim it to 14-10. After a pair of Howard tallies, McIntosh completed Liberty's scoring effort with another goal from the free position at 6:30. The Bison closed out the contest with 1:35 remaining for the 17-11 final.
NLC Tournament play continues with two more games on Saturday and two on Sunday to determine the conference champion.