No. 16 Liberty Earns 4-0 Road Shutout Victory at No. 9 UConn
No. 16 Liberty earned a 4-0 road shutout victory over No. 9 Connecticut in BIG EAST Conference action, Friday afternoon at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex.
The Lady Flames improve to 5-3 on the season and stay unbeaten in conference play at 2-0. The Huskies drop to 6-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Liberty has now bested UConn in four straight meetings following the shutout win in what was a rematch of last year’s BIG EAST Championship title game. All five of the Lady Flames’ victories in 2022 have come in shutout fashion.
Senior forward Daniella Rhodes scored her 51st and 52nd career goals in the contest, while Charlotte Vaanhold and Lexi Hosler added goals in the triumph.
5’ – LIBERTY – Charlotte Vaanhold (Martu Cian)
17’ – LIBERTY – Daniella Rhodes (Bethany Dykema and Reagan Underwood) | Penalty Corner
19’ – LIBERTY – Lexi Hosler (Daniella Rhodes) | Penalty Corner
45’ – LIBERTY – Daniella Rhodes (Charlotte Vaanhold and Bethany Dykema) | Penalty Corner
W: Azul Iritxity Irigoyen 5-3, five saves
L: Cheyenne Sprecher 6-2, four saves
Liberty scored three times in the game’s first 19 minutes, with Charlotte Vaanhold, Daniella Rhodes and Lexi Hosler tallying the goals.
The Lady Flames’ first goal came from Vaanhold at the 4:07 mark. With Liberty employing a press in UConn’s zone, forward Martu Cian created a turnover and found Vaanhold near the circle. Vaanhold dribbled in and sent a shot over the head of Huskies goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher and into the cage for a 1-0 Liberty lead.
Early in the second quarter, Liberty capitalized on its second penalty corner. Following a Bethany Dykema insert and Reagan Underwood stick stop, Rhodes ripped a shot that hit a defender’s stick and went into the goal for a 2-0 edge at the 16:59 mark. Less than two minutes later (18:51 mark), the Lady Flames cashed in on another short corner effort. This time, Rhodes sent a ball towards the right post to Hosler, and Hosler redirected it past Sprecher for a 3-0 lead for the guests.
Key Stats & Notes
• Rhodes paced the Liberty attack with a game-high two goals as well as a game-best two assists for six points. The senior from Durban, South Africa paces the squad in goals (7), assists (7) and points (21). Vaanhold’s marker was her sixth of the season, ranking her second on the team in goals.
• Goalkeeper Azul Iritxity Irigoyen made five saves in recording her third shutout of the year. The junior from Buenos Aires, Argentina made a diving stop on a Huskies penalty corner effort in the 50th minute to keep the hosts off the scoreboard.
• This is the second straight time the Lady Flames have shut out the Huskies. Liberty defeated Connecticut 1-0 in last year’s BIG EAST final.
• Liberty scored on three of its nine penalty corners chances today. Conversely, UConn was 0-of-6 on its short corner opportunities.
• The Lady Flames have outscored opponents 36-0 in their five wins in 2022.
• Liberty outshot UConn 13-8 in the match and held a 12-5 advantage in shots on goal. Rhodes paced the visitors with four shots on goal, followed by Jodie Conolly with three shots on cage.
• Hosler’s second quarter goal was her first goal of the year and first since she scored in last year’s NCAA Field Hockey Championship Elite 8 game at No. 1 Rutgers (Nov. 14, 2021).
• This is Liberty’s first ranked win of the year. The Lady Flames had been 0-2 against top-25 competition entering the day.
• Today’s victory matches Liberty’s largest margin of victory ever over UConn. The Lady Flames topped the Huskies 4-0 during the spring 2021 season (March 14, 2021) at Temple’s Howarth Field for their first-ever victory over UConn.
• Liberty improves to 3-2 in games played at UConn’s George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex. This was the Lady Flames’ first triumph in a regular season contest at the facility. Liberty won two games at the field in last year’s BIG EAST Tournament.
• Liberty’s four goals scored on UConn today marks the first time this season the Huskies have given up four of more goals. The Huskies last gave up four or more goals on Sept. 12, 2021 when they yielded five goals in a 5-3 home loss to No. 16 Syracuse.
Liberty will return home to face Longwood (2-5) in non-conference action, Sunday. Match time is 1 p.m. at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
The Lady Flames hold a 7-4 all-time mark against the Longwood Lancers. Liberty topped Longwood 3-1 on the road last year (Oct. 17, 2021).