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    5 Liberty Players Honored on 2022 NFHCA All-Region Teams

    Nov 23, 2022 | Lynchburg Va | Field Hockey

    NFHCA All-Region Teams

    The Liberty field hockey team saw five players honored on the 2022 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I All-South Region teams.

    The Lady Flames had three players named to the first team, tied for most in the region with unbeaten national champion North Carolina (21-0). Liberty, North Carolina and Virginia all had five players featured on the all-region teams, tied for the most in the South Region.

    Liberty’s Bethany Dykema, Azul Iritxity Irigoyen and Lizzie Hamlett were voted to the NFHCA All-South Region first team. Meanwhile, Jodie Conolly and Charlotte Vaanhold were named to the NFHCA All-South Region second team.

    Liberty’s five honorees is tied for the second most in school history, matching the spring 2021 squad. The fall 2021 team holds the program record with six all-region recipients. A total of 24 Lady Flames have been tabbed to an all-region team over the past six seasons.

    Liberty won the BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship title for a second straight year this fall, defeating No. 1 seed and 13th-ranked Old Dominion 3-1 in the final. The Lady Flames fell 2-1 in double overtime to No. 2-ranked and No. 3 national seed Maryland in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

    Division I teams are separated into five regions: Mid-Atlantic, Mideast, Northeast, South and West. Each region honors up to 16 student-athletes on a first team and up to 16 student-athletes on a second team. The NFHCA Division I All-Region team announcement is first in a list of postseason accolades to come out over the next several weeks. Next to be announced are the NFHCA Regional Players of the Year a week on Nov. 30, followed by NFHCA All-American teams on Dec. 13 and the NFHCA National Player of the Year on Dec. 15.

    Bethany Dykema (NFHCA All-South Region first team)
    Dykema earns all-region honors for the third time in her career, and this is the second straight year she has been named to the first team. The senior defender earned All-BIG EAST first team recognition for a third straight season and was selected to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament team. Dykema scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 54th minute over the championship game against ODU.

    Dykema, who hails from Newport News, Va., ended the year with a team-best and career-high 12 assists. The senior added eight goals and finished second on the squad with 28 points while starting all 20 games. Dykema and the Liberty defensive unit established a new program record with 10 shutouts this fall. She was tabbed to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times (Aug. 30, Sept. 20, Oct. 4) during the season.

    Azul Iritxity Irigoyen (NFHCA All-South Region first team)
    A junior goalkeeper, Iritxity Irigoyen earns her second straight first team all-region honor. The Buenos Aires, Argentina native was named the BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship Most Outstanding Player in leading Liberty to its second straight BIG EAST crown. She made 13 saves in the BIG EAST Tournament against No. 14 Connecticut (No. 3 seed) and No. 13 Old Dominion (No. 1 seed). Iritxity Irigoyen was an All-BIG EAST second team selection this fall, her third straight year earning all-conference honors.

    Following the BIG EAST Championship, Iritxity Irigoyen was named NFHCA Division I Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 10) for the second time in her career. The junior earned her eighth career BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honor on Sept. 27 and garnered inclusion on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on two occasions (Oct. 11, Oct. 18), this fall.

    Iritxity Irigoyen started all 20 games for the Lady Flames, compiling a 12-8 record, 1.10 goals-against-average (GAA), eight shutouts, a .761 save percentage and 70 saves. She became the program record holder for career shutouts with 17. In seven BIG EAST regular season matches this fall, Iritxity Irigoyen posted a 6-1 record and led the league in goals-against-average (GAA), shutouts (6) and save percentage (.947). Iritxity Irigoyen matched a career high with 12 saves in Liberty’s NCAA Championship Sweet 16 game at No. 2 Maryland. For the second straight NCAA Tournament, the netminder made a save on a penalty stroke attempt. This time, she saved a shot from Maryland’s Hope Rose in the fourth quarter (56:15 mark), helping send the game to overtime.

    Lizzie Hamlett (NFHCA All-South Region first team)
    This is the first time Hamlett has been voted to the NFHCA All-South Region first team. Last year, she was selected to the second team. Hamlett was a All-BIG EAST first team recipient this year, received BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 4 and was also a two-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selection (Sept. 20, Oct. 25).

    The senior midfielder from Fredericksburg, Va. started all 20 contests during her fifth season with the Lady Flames and finished second on the team with a career-best 10 goals while adding 27 points (third on team) and seven assists (fifth on team). In BIG EAST regular season competition (seven games), Hamlett tallied 14 points (6 g, 2 a), tied for most in the league. The senior finished her Liberty career with 27 goals, ninth most in school history.

    Jodie Conolly (NFHCA All-South Region second team)
    Conolly is now a three-time second team all-region selection with the Lady Flames and has four total all-region awards in her career. (other: All-Northeast Region second team in 2019 while at Boston University. The senior back was an All-BIG EAST second team selection this season for the second straight year, and she is a three-time All-BIG EAST honoree (also first team, spring 2021). Conolly earned BIG EAST All-Tournament team recognition this fall in helping Liberty win its second straight conference title.

    Conolly appeared in and started 19 games. The native of Pietermartizburg, South Africa tallied seven goals, nine assists (third on team), 23 points (fourth on team) and one defensive save. Despite missing one league game, Conolly paced the BIG EAST with six assists in six conference games and added two goals for 12 points. In postseason play, she scored the game-winning goal in the fourth quarter of Liberty’s 2-1 triumph over UConn in the BIG EAST semifinals.

    Conolly and the Lady Flames defense recorded 10 shutouts in 2022 and allowed only two goals on 89 penalty corner attempts during the season. Conolly made the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on two occasions (Oct. 18, Oct. 25), this season.

    Charlotte Vaanhold (NFHCA All-South Region second team)
    Vaanhold is receiving NFHCA All-South Region second team honors for the second time in her career after garnering the distinction during the spring 2021 campaign. The senior midfielder/forward from Hollandsche Rading, Netherlands was also an All-BIG EAST first team selection.

    Vaanhold started all 20 games during her fifth and final season with the Lady Flames, compiling nine goals (tied for third on team), two assists and 20 points (tied for fifth on team). In seven BIG EAST contest, she notched six goals, tied for second most in the league, and one assist for 13 points. Vaanhold wrapped up her time at Liberty with 38 career goals, good for sixth most in school history. She had 88 career points, eighth most in program history.