The No. 2 seed Liberty women's soccer team returns to action in the 2013 Big South Women's Soccer semifinals, Friday, squaring off with No. 6 seed High Point. Game time in Conway, S.C., is slated for 7 p.m. Liberty will be making its eighth semifinal appearance and holds a 12-10-2 all-time record over the Panthers, including a 3-1 mark in tournament play. The last time the two squads met in the postseason, the Lady Flames bested High Point in the 2011 Big South quarterfinals, 2-1, in overtime. Helena Pereira scored the game-winning goal for Liberty in the 93rd minute. The winner advances to Sunday's finals to take on the winner of the first semifinal match on Friday (4:30 p.m.) between No. 1 Radford and No. 4 Winthrop. How to Follow the Lady Flames A free live video stream courtesy of the Big South Network will be available on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. Live stats will also be available courtesy of the Coastal Carolina media relations office.
A Look at Liberty The No. 2 seed Liberty women's soccer team clinched a spot in the semifinals of the 2013 Big South Women's Soccer Championship, after defeating Presbyterian College, 1-0, in a quarterfinal matchup, Sunday afternoon, at Osborne Stadium. Crystal Elmers posted the game-winning goal for the Lady Flames in the 43rd minute, receiving a cross in front of the goal from Brittany Aanderud. Elmers leads the team with six goals on the season, while Aanderud's third straight assist in as many games gave her 11 for her career. The mark tied her with Madison Short (2009-11) and Aimee Luurtsema (2008-11) for the third most in program history. Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord finished with two saves on the day, notching her 13th shutout to extend her single-season program record. The netminder leads the league in shutouts and goals-against average (0.58) and is third in the Big South with a save percentage of .859. She needs one more shutout to surpass Radford's Che Brown for the Big South single-season shutout record. Van Noord is currently 19th in the country in save percentage and 22nd in goals-against average. As a team, the Lady Flames are 10th nationally in shutout percentage, 18th in save percentage and 20th in goals-against average. Aanderud remains the team leader in total points with 16, posting five goals on the season to accompany her six assists. Elmers is second with 14 points with six goals and two assists. Defender Casey Norris has cemented her place in the Liberty record books, this season, appearing in more contests (81) throughout her collegiate career than any other Lady Flame in program history. Norris recently surpassed Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis, who held the previous record with 78 total games.
Five Earn All-Conference Honors This week, five Lady Flames received Big South All-Conference honors. Midfielder Brittany Aanderud and defender Casey Norris were named to the conference's first team, while junior defender Maddie Boone and goalkeeper Holly Van Noord earned second team honors. Van Noord and forward Julia Delgatti also secured spots on the conference's all-freshman squad. Much like Van Noord, Boone picked up a second accolade, as she was named to the all-academic team. High Point at a Glance The Panthers earned a spot in the semifinals with a 3-1 win at No. 3 Longwood on Saturday. Freshman Jenny Marshall scored two second-half goals as HPU battled back from an early 1-0 deficit to pick up the upset victory. The two-goal performance by Marshall was the freshman's first multi-goal game of the season. With its win over the Lancers, High Point has now won four-straight games to even its overall record at 9-9-1. Senior Kelli Joline and redshirt-freshman Kelsey Perrell lead the Panthers with 15 points on six goals and three assists each. Senior Becca Hemby leads HPU on the season with five assists to go along with three goals. Goalkeeper Jesse May has seen the bulk of the action between the pipes, this season. The netminder has a goals-against average of 1.89 to go along with 79 saves (.693) and five shutouts. Head Coach Jessica Hain Jessica Hain is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Lady Flames. Coming into the tournament, Hain has a career record of 54-49-14. In 2009, she earned Big South Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first coach in Big South history to take a last place team to first place the following season. Liberty's All-Time Marks in Big South Championship The Lady Flames are 16-8-6 all-time in the Big South Championship, capturing titles in 2000, 2001 and 2005. Liberty is currently tied for second with High Point in tournament wins and is third all-time behind Radford (5) and the Panthers (4) with three championships. This year marks Liberty's eighth semifinal appearance all-time. The Lady Flames were denied a spot in the round of four, last season, as Longwood advanced on penalty kicks (3-0) following a 1-1 tie in the quarterfinal round. The Lady Flames' most common opponents in the tournament have been Charleston Southern (2-1-1), High Point (3-1) and UNC Asheville (2-0-2). The Lady Flames have also played Radford (2-1), Coastal Carolina (2-0), Winthrop (0-1-1), Gardner-Webb (0-0-1), Longwood (0-0-1) and former conference members UMBC (0-3), Elon (2-1), Howard (1-0), Towson (0-1) and Birmingham Southern (1-0). Lady Flames and the Big South Championship The Lady Flames captured their third Big South Championship by winning the 2005 Big South Women's Soccer Championship. By winning in the finals, Liberty also won its 11th tournament contest overall. Liberty's other titles came in 2000 and 2001. In 2006, the team won two games to extend its tournament win total to 13. With quarterfinal victories in each of the last two years, the Lady Flames now have 15 wins in Big South Championship play. With their appearance in 2006, the Lady Flames have played in five conference finals, posting a 3-1-1 record. Liberty made three straight trips to the Big South final from 1999 to 2001. Liberty fell in its first appearance in the title game in 1999, 3-2, in overtime to Elon. The following year, the Lady Flames claimed their first championship with a 2-0 victory over Elon and then made it back-to-back titles with another 2-0 title-game win over the Phoenix in 2001. Liberty returned to the title game in 2005 and added its third trophy since 2000, with a 3-0 victory over UNC Asheville.