Liberty Earns 4-0 Road Victory Over 3-Time Defending National Champ UNC
No. 10 Liberty earned a monumental road victory on Sunday afternoon at No. 9 North Carolina, defeating the three-time defending national champion Tar Heels 4-0 at Karen Shelton Stadium.
The victory was Liberty’s first-ever win over North Carolina after entering today’s contest with an 0-7 all-time mark against the Tar Heels. Today’s setback was UNC’s first at home (in Chapel Hill) since 2014, a streak of 62 straight wins, and first ever at Karen Shelton Stadium. Prior to today, the Tar Heels were 41-0 at Karen Shelton Stadium, which opened in 2018. The Tar Heels held their home games in 2017 (which do not count towards the 63-game winning streak) at Duke prior to the new stadium opening.
Liberty improves to 10-2 this fall and has won seven straight games overall. The Lady Flames’ win was their fourth top-25 victory this season and first top-10 win since defeating No. 7 Virginia 3-2 at home on Sept. 16, 2018. UNC falls to 8-5 this season and has lost two of its last four contests.
Liberty senior Jill Bolton made more history on Sunday, becoming the program’s all-time leader in career goals. Bolton scored twice in the game, with her second goal of the day at the 54:26 mark giving her a new school record of 56 career goals. On Friday against Villanova, Bolton scored three goals and became the program’s all-time points leader.
The Lady Flames’ other goals came from Daniella Rhodes and Bethany Dykema, both on penalty corners. Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Azul Iritxity Irigoyen and the Liberty defense were exceptional in the match, with Iritxity Irigoyen making six saves and earning her fourth shutout of the season. The Lady Flames’ Jodie Conolly and Bolton made defensive saves in the contest as well.
22’ – LIBERTY – Jill Bolton (Reagan Underwood)
32’ – LIBERTY – Daniella Rhodes (Kendra Jones and Bethany Dykema) | Penalty Corner
49’ – LIBERTY – Bethany Dykema (Jodie Conolly) | Penalty Corner
55’ – LIBERTY – Jill Bolton (unassisted)
W: Azul Iritxity Irigoyen 10-2, six saves
L: Abigail Taylor 8-5, two saves
After a scoreless first quarter, Liberty broke through midway into the second period. Sophomore midfielder Reagan Underwood sent a backhand pass airborne to Bolton, who redirected the ball out of the air and into the right side of the cage at the 21:13 mark for a 1-0 Lady Flames lead.
Liberty led 1-0 at intermission despite being outshot 11-3 in the opening 30 minutes. The Lady Flames added to their lead in the 32nd minute of their second penalty corner of the game. Following a Bethany Dykema insert and Kendra Jones stick stop, Daniella Rhodes sent a one-hop shot through traffic and past the right pad of UNC goalkeeper Abigail Taylor to make it 2-0 for the visitors. Liberty tacked on insurance goals in the 49th and 55th minutes, with Bethany Dykema and Bolton tallying goals.
Key Stats & Notes
• Bolton’s second goal of the day, her 56th career, allowed her to surpass Agueda Moroni (55 goals, 2016-18) as the program’s all-time career goals leader. Bolton leads the team in goals (14) and points (33) this season.
• This is the first time Liberty has ever shut out North Carolina.
• Rhodes’ goal was her 10th of the season in only nine games. Rhodes has now recorded 10 or more goals in three straight seasons and has 39 career goals in 43 career games.
• Liberty was outshot 19-10 by UNC. Bolton led the Lady Flames with four shots, while Cassie Sumfest paced UNC with four shots. The Tar Heels also held a 9-3 edge in penalty corners.
• During Liberty’s current seven-game winning streak, the Lady Flames have outscored their opponents 31-4.
• Liberty entered the game as the national leader in assists per game (3.82) and tallied four more assists in today’s victory.
• This is Liberty’s third-ever shutout of a top-25 team.
• The Lady Flames improve to 4-2 against ranked teams, this fall.
Liberty will return to BIG EAST Conference action on Friday at Temple (7-5, 3-1 BIG EAST). Game time is 6 p.m. at Howarth Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Lady Flames and Owls met four times during the spring 2021 campaign, all Liberty victories. Liberty outscored Temple 10-2 in those contests and won both games at Howarth Field by identical 2-0 scores.