Liberty Downs Stetson 18-9 in ASUN Road Opener
Liberty used an 8-0 run to close the first half on its way to an 18-9 win at Stetson, Friday afternoon in its first ASUN road contest of the year at the Athletic Training Center.
The Lady Flames have won three straight games and are 9-6 on the season and 2-0 in the ASUN. Liberty defender Sarah Steenson recorded her 100th career caused turnover in the contest, while attacker Leah Ruby scored a career-high five goals.
The Lady Flames also received three-goal games from Mia Toscano and Brooke Bryan and two-goal efforts from Kim Hagerty and Grace Fletcher. Liberty goalkeeper Jennifer Soriero (10 saves) notched her fifth game with 10 or more saves this season and also scooped up a game-high eight ground balls.
Stetson falls to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the ASUN.
Liberty is in first place in the ASUN by a half game heading into Sunday's marquee showdown at No. 11 Jacksonville (6-1, 1-0 ASUN), the three-time defending conference champion.
Liberty Goals: Leah Ruby 5, Mia Toscano 3, Brooke Bryan 3, Kim Hagerty 2, Grace Fletcher 2, Andrea Colavito 1, Carly White 1, Jordan Baerga 1
Liberty Assists: Tori Banks 1, Mia Toscano 1
Stetson Goals: Erin Collier 3, Marina Rotella 2, Jessica Duggan 1, Saige-Lyn Gidzinski 1, Riley Reagan 1, Quinn Roe 1
Stetson Assists: Jessica Duggan 2, Saige-Lyn Gidzinski 1, Jacklyn Lavoie 1, Riley Reagan 1, Marina Rotella 1
W: Jennifer Soriero 9-6, 10 saves
L: Kiera McCarthy 1-4, 13 saves
Liberty started slowly, trailing 4-1 in the game's first seven minutes. The Lady Flames were down 5-3 with 18:52 left on the first half clock but closed the half with eight unanswered goals. During that spurt, Ruby scored three times, while Toscano had two goals. Carly White, Kim Hagerty and Jordan Baerga also scored during the run, with Baerga's goal with 26 seconds left sending Liberty to the locker room with an 11-5 lead.
The Lady Flames carried the momentum into the second half, scoring five of the first six second half goals. Ruby's fifth and final goal of the game at the 14:35 mark punctuated the 15-2 run spanning the two halves.
Key Stats & Notes
• Liberty outshot Stetson 38-23 and held edges in ground balls (26-17), draw controls (16-12), caused turnovers (9-6) and free-position goals (6-2). The Lady Flames also converted 20-of-23 clearing attempts (.870), compared to 16-of-20 for Stetson (.800).
• Steenson is one of three players in program history with 100 or more caused turnovers, joining Brianna McCaffrey (147 caused turnovers, 2016-19) and White (104 caused turnovers). She led the team with three caused turnovers today and has a team-high 33 this season, matching her career high that she set in 2019.
• Liberty's Bryan scored her 13th free-position goal of 2021, tying a school record. She has scored three or more goals in six of the last seven contests and leads the team with 38 goals this season.
• With three goals today, all before halftime, Toscano eclipsed the 20-goal mark (21 goals) for the first time in her career. She has 21 goals, eight assists and 29 points this season and is one point away from 100 career points (64 g, 35 a).
• Prior to Ruby's five-goal outburst this afternoon, the attacker had only scored twice in the previous seven games. Ruby's fifth and final goal gave her 20 on the season. She is the first Liberty player this season to score five goals.
• Liberty improves to 3-0 all-time versus Stetson and 2-0 in ASUN games versus the Hatters.
• Liberty is 9-0 when scoring in double figures and 0-6 when scoring less than 10 goals.
• First place in the ASUN will be on the line when Liberty and Jacksonville battle on Sunday afternoon. First draw is scheduled for 1 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field.
• Sunday's showdown between the Lady Flames and Dolphins will be a rematch of the 2019 ASUN Women's Lacrosse Championship title game. Jacksonville edged Liberty 20-18 in that game at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium. The Dolphins have a 6-0 advantage in the all-time series.