Liberty Dominates Kennesaw State 21-6, Advances to Third Straight ASUN Final
No. 2 seed Liberty earned a dominant 21-6 win over No. 3 seed Kennesaw State in Thursday’s ASUN Women’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals at Jacksonville’s Rock Stadium.
Liberty (11-7) has advanced to its third straight ASUN final and will meet No. 1 seed and 20th-ranked Jacksonville (12-4), the four-time defending ASUN champion, in Saturday’s title game. The host Dolphins topped No. 4 seed Coastal Carolina 20-7 in the first semifinal on Thursday afternoon.
The Lady Flames’ win over the Owls is their second in six days. Liberty bested KSU 16-7, last Saturday in the regular season finale in Kennesaw, Ga. This is the second straight season that Liberty has ended KSU’s season. The Lady Flames knocked off the Owls 23-11 in last year’s ASUN semifinal round.
Liberty and Jacksonville will meet for the third straight year in the ASUN title game. First draw is 1 p.m. on Saturday and can be seen on ESPN+. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
Liberty Goals: Brooke Bryan 5, Jordan Baerga 4, Cami Merkel 4, Tori Banks 2, Andrea Colavito 2, Jordan Sheive 1, Mackenzie Lehman 1, Mia Toscano 1, Lizzy Ferguson 1
Liberty Assists: Jordan Sheive 2, Jordan Baerga 1, Brooke Bryan 1, Mackenzie Lehman 1, Leah Ruby 1, Mia Toscano 1
Kennesaw State Goals: Chesslyn Lamar 1, Siena Gore 1, Natalie Welch 1, McKenzie Jackson 1, Jaxsyn Schonewille 1, Caroline Farley 1
Kennesaw State Assists: Siena Gore 2, Chesslyn Lamar 2, Bailey Wilson 2
W: Jennifer Soriero 11-6, two saves
L: Julia Weiss 9-7, seven saves
After KSU scored the game’s opening goal, Liberty scored 13 of the final 15 goals in the first half to take a commanding 13-3 lead at intermission. ASUN All-Conference first team honoree Jordan Baerga scored all four of her goals in the opening half and now paces the squad with 39 goals this season.
Liberty’s defense scooped up 15 ground balls and generated 10 caused turnovers in the opening 30 minutes. The Lady Flames held ASUN Player of the Year Siena Gore without a shot attempt in the first half.
Liberty did not relent in the second half, scoring the first eight goals to go up 21-3. The Lady Flames’ 12-0 run spanned the final 3:09 of the first half and first 23:24 of the second half. Bryan’s fifth and final goal of the day capped off the spurt. The senior from Westlake, Calif. scored three of her five goals today on free-position shots.
Key Stats & Notes
• On the offensive end, Bryan led the way with five goals, followed by four goals each from Baerga and Merkel. Tori Banks and Andrea Colavito scored two goals each. Bryan’s three free-position goals today give her 39 career free-position tallies.
• Liberty held advantages in total shots (40-14), ground balls (26-18), caused turnovers (20-13) and draw controls.
• Defender Hannah Davis led the way with three caused turnovers for a Lady Flames defensive unit which entered the contest ranked second nationally in caused turnovers per game. Fellow defender and first team All-ASUN honoree Hannah Quast matched a career high with six ground balls and added two caused turnovers.
• ASUN All-Conference first team member Mia Toscano matched a career high with eight draw controls. The Venetia, Pa. native added one goal, one assist, two points and three ground balls.
• The Lady Flames shut down Siena Gore, who came into the game with 79 goals. Gore scored only one goal in the contest, which came at the 4:20 mark of the the fourth quarter with Liberty leading 21-3 at the time. The Liberty defense held Gore to three goals in two meetings.
• Liberty’s 11 victories are its most since winning a program-record 14 games during the 2019 season.
• The Lady Flames improve to 5-0 all-time against the Owls. Liberty outscored KSU 37-13 in two games this year.
• In six ASUN games (including postseason), Liberty has outscored its foes column 106-58 (17.7 goals per game to 9.67 goals per game)
• No. 2 seed Liberty (11-7) will meet No. 1 seed/No. 20 Jacksonville (12-4) in Saturday’s ASUN Championship title game at 1 p.m.
• The Lady Flames are in search of their first conference title in program history and first-ever win over the Dolphins. JU is 9-0 all-time and 5-0 against Liberty since the Lady Flames joined the ASUN prior to the 2018-19 school year.