The Liberty Lady Flames enter the 2012 NorPac Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East Division in just their first year of competition in the conference. Liberty will face the No. 4 seed from the West, Pacific, on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Athletics Complex in Farmville, Va.
Earlier this week, the Flames Sports Network's Nick Pierce had a chance to catch up with Liberty head coach Jodi Murphy and sophomore defender Megan Johnson to preview the upcoming tournament. How to Follow the Lady Flames Live stats for Thursday's game will be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the field hockey schedule/results page. Live stats for the entire NorPac Tournament will be provided by the Longwood media relations department.
A Look at the Lady Flames Liberty enters the 2012 NorPac Tournament riding a program-record six-game winning streak and boasts an overall record of 14-5 (7-1 NorPac). The Lady Flames have only suffered one setback since Sept. 21, collecting 11 wins in their last 12 contests.
Liberty concluded its final weekend of play with wins over Appalachian State, 3-1, and Davidson, 3-2, to earn the NorPac East Division regular-season title.
The Lady Flames received goals from Sarah Gipe, Megan Johnson and Natalie Barr en route to the victory over Appalachian State. Liberty swept the season series against the Mountaineers, two games to none.
In the regular-season finale at Davidson on Sunday, the Lady Flames erased a 2-1 second-half deficit on the way to the 3-2 victory. Barr tallied a pair of goals, including the game-winning goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Mercedes Cox also notched a goal for Liberty.
For the season, 11 different players have scored at least one goal for the Lady Flames. Barr leads the team with 14 goals. Fellow freshmen Gipe, Abbey Basom and Hannah Doherty have 13, seven and six goals, respectively.
Liberty has notched 34 assists this season on 56 goals. Barr's total of seven assists tops the squad, while Basom and Jordan Richardson have six and four assists, respectively.
Lady Flames Among Conference and NCAA Leaders Barr is averaging 2.06 points per game and 0.82 goals per game, which is good for 19th and 17th in the nation, respectively. The freshman's 14 goals is tied with UConn's Louisa Boddy for most in the nation among freshmen. Gipe ranks third among freshmen with 13 goals.
Barr, Gipe and Basom are currently in the top 10 in the conference in shots, shots per game, points and points per game. Barr and Gipe sit in the top 10 in goals and goals per game, while Barr and Basom rank in the top 10 in assists.
Stingy Defense The Lady Flames have one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season. Liberty ranks No. 12 in the nation with a 1.35 goals-against average. The Lady Flames also rank in the top 25 in the country in save percentage (.776) and shutouts per game (0.26).
Liberty ranks first in the NorPac in several defensive categories. The Lady Flames lead the conference in goals against average, goals allowed per game (1.37), goals allowed (26) and are tied for first with five shutouts.
Goalie Mallory Cuccio entered the week No. 1 in the nation in goals-against average (0.81) and No. 2 in save percentage (.822). The freshman leads the conference with four shutouts in just 10 starts this season.
A Look at the Tigers Pacific enters the NorPac Tournament with an overall mark of 5-12 (1-5 NorPac). The Tigers' lone conference win came against Cal by a final score of 2-1.
Pacific and Liberty have played two common opponents this year in Saint Louis and La Salle. The Tigers split those two contests, defeating Saint Louis, 5-3, while falling to La Salle, 4-3. The Lady Flames defeated both the Billikens, 5-0, and the Explorers, 3-1.
Paige Counsman and Melissa Maultsby pace the Tigers with six goals apiece. Emily Tregoning and Emily Trudeau top the squad with six and five assists, respectively.
In goal, Ashlee Schleiser has started nine games for the Tigers. The senior has recorded 83 saves, while surrendering 33 goals. NorPac Tournament Participant Capsules #1W Stanford Cardinal (12-6, 6-0 NorPac) Coach (Record at Stanford/Career Record): Tara Danielson (50-29/44-16) Goal Leader: Becky Dru, 9 goals Assist Leader: Becky Dru, 8 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 2-0 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 3-0 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in Title Game to California, 1-0 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
#2W UC Davis (7-11, 3-3 NorPac) Coach (Record at UC Davis): Vianney Campos (22-48/Same) Goal Leader: Cloey LemMon/Marissa Hughes, 7 goals Assist Leader: Jamie Garcia, 8 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 2-0 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 2-0 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in First Round to Davidson, 4-1 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
#3W California (6-11, 2-4 NorPac) Coach (Record at California/Career Record): Shellie Onstead (203-111/Same) Goal Leader: Laura Krugel, 15 goals Assist Leader: Shannon Elmitt, 7 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 3-0 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 3-0 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Won Title game over Stanford, 4-1 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
#4W Pacific (5-12, 1-5 NorPac) Coach (Record at Pacific/Career Record): Linda MacDonald (126-182-2/89-173) Goal Leader: Paige Counsman/Melissa Maultsby, 6 goals Assist Leader: Emily Tregoning, 6 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 1-1 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 2-0 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in First Round to Longwood, 3-1 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
#2E Longwood (7-12, 6-2 NorPac) Coach (Record at Longwood/Career Record): Iain Byers (48-57/Same) Goal Leader: Stacey de Grandhomme, 16 goals Assist Leader: Jennifer Burris, 7 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 5-3 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 6-2 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in Semifinals to California, 3-0 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 2-1
#3E Davidson (8-11, 5-3 NorPac) Coach (Record at Davidson/Career Record): Ginny Turner (58-64/Same) Goal Leader: Finley Amato, 11 goals Assist Leader: Finley Amato/Melissa Funsten, 6 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 6-3 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 6-3 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in Semifinals to Stanford, 7-2 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 1-2
#4E Radford (2-17, 2-6 NorPac) Coach (Record at Radford/Career Record): Jeff Woods (211-329-7/Same) Goal Leader: Stacey Mackintosh, 8 goals Assist Leader: Ashton Cox, 4 assists 2012 Record Versus Common Opponents with Liberty: 2-7 Liberty's Record Versus Same Opponents: 6-3 Last Season's NorPac Tournament Result: Lost in First Round to California, 5-2 All-Time Record vs. Liberty: 1-2
Looking Ahead Liberty will continue play in the NorPac Tournament on Friday. The Lady Flames will either play in a semifinal matchup between the winner of the UC Davis versus Davidson game or a consolation matchup with the loser of that game. The semifinal contest will take place at 1:30 p.m., while the consolation matchup is set for 11 a.m.