Fourth Quarter Surge Lifts Liberty Past Cincinnati 16-12
Liberty outscored Cincinnati 5-1 in the fourth quarter, lifting the Lady Flames past the Bearcats 16-12 at Nippert Stadium.
With the win, Liberty moves above .500 at 5-4. The Lady Flames close out their Spring Break trip with a 2-1 mark. Cincinnati slips to 4-6 on the season.
Liberty’s Jordan Baerga led the way with four goals in the contest, while sophomores Mackenzie Lehman and Jordan Sheive both recorded hat tricks. Goalkeeper Jennifer Soriero made a season-high 11 saves this afternoon. Seeing her first collegiate action, Liberty freshman Katie Rodiguez won five draw controls, all in the second half.
Liberty Goals: Jordan Baerga 4, Mackenzie Lehman 3, Jordan Sheive 3, Brooke Bryan 2, Olivia Glaze 1, Tori Banks 1, Leah Ruby 1, Andrea Colavito 1
Liberty Assists: Jordan Baerga 1, Olivia Glaze 1, Mackenzie Lehman 1, Jordan Sheive 1, Mia Toscano 1
Cincinnati Goals: Ava Goeller 4, Elizabeth Murphy 2, Grace Wehland 2, Kylie Nause 1, Alyssa Adams 1, Anna Platou 1, Kylie Gioia 1
Cincinnati Assists: Morgan Bates 1
W: Jennifer Soriero 5-3, 11 saves
L: Sophie O’Brien 4-6, three saves
Liberty trailed 11-8 with 3:30 left in the third quarter following a goal from the Bearcats’ Alyssa Adams. The Lady Flames finished the game on an 8-1 run over the final 18:30 for the four-goal margin of victory.
Five different players scored for the visitors during that spurt, with attacker Leah Ruby’s goal at the 10:16 mark putting Liberty ahead for good. The goal, her first of the season, made it 13-12 Liberty. The Lady Flames scored four unanswered goals to close out the win. With five seconds left in the game, Sheive capped off her hat trick with a highlight reel no-look twizzler goal.
First Half Summary
• Cincinnati scored the game’s first three goals and led 5-2 through one period of action. The Bearcats’ Ava Goeller found the back of the net three times in the opening quarter.
• Liberty scored the first four goals of the period, with two coming from Brooke Bryan and one each from Tori Banks and Andrea Colavito, to seize a 6-5 advantage.
• The Bearcats scored the final two goals of the half, with Kylie Nause’s marker sending the hosts into intermission with a 7-6 lead. Cincinnati dominated the draw circle in the first half, winning 13 draws, compared to only two for Liberty.
Second Half Summary
• Liberty’s Rodriguez made an immediate impact upon entering the lineup, winning three of her team-high five draw controls in the third quarter. Rodriguez’s first career draw came at the 8:45 mark of the quarter. Liberty won 10 draws in the second half, and Cincinnati won seven.
• During the Lady Flames’ 8-1 run, Lehman, Baerga and Sheive each found the back of the cage twice. Soriero made three of her 11 saves in the final 15 minutes.
Key Stats & Notes
• The Lady Flames held edges in ground balls (17-15), caused turnovers (12-7) and free-position goals (5-4). Liberty converted 20-of-21 clears (95.3 percent), and Cincinnati was 15-of-16 (93.8 percent).
• Despite being outshot 29-25 in the game, Liberty was efficient with its opportunities with 16 goals.
• Soriero’s 11-save game is her first game with double-digit saves this season. The Pompton Plains, N.J. native had seven games of 10 or more saves in 2021.
• Liberty improves to 2-2 all-time versus Cincinnati and has won the last two meetings in the series, both by four goals. The Lady Flames also bested the Bearcats by four goals (14-10) in 2021.
• Baerga’s four goals today gives her a team-high 22 this season. The attacker paces the squad in goals (22) and points (27).
• With Mia Toscano scoring her 10th goal of the season today, the Lady Flames now feature six players with 10 or more goals: Baerga (22), Lehman (21), Brooke Bryan (15), Cami Merkel (14), Olivia Glaze (12) and Toscano (10).
• Liberty will return home to face former Big South foe High Point (1-5), next Saturday at noon.
• The Lady Flames defeated the Panthers 14-13 on the road in 2021 for their second-ever win in the series. The Panthers have won nine of 11 all-time meetings.