LYNCHBURG, Va. - Liberty extended its winning streak to seven games with a 14-7 home victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils, Friday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
With the non-conference win, the Lady Flames improve to 11-2 on the season and 5-2 at home. The Sun Devils fall to 4-10 on the year following the setback. Liberty has now beaten ASU in back-to-back seasons, its first two victories over a Pac-12 foe.
The Lady Flames received a career-high 13 saves from senior goalkeeper Katherine Widrick and three goals apiece from Anna Keebler, Kayla Foster and Carly White. Foster's first goal of the day was the 100th of her storied career.Liberty led 8-5 at intermission and pulled away due to its second half success in the draw circle (7-2) and swarming defense which only allowed 9-of-19 successful Sun Devil clears.
Liberty Goals: Kayla Foster 3, Anna Keebler 3, Carly White 3, Brianna McCaffrey 2, Jenna Joyal 1, Hannah Quast 1, Emily Browne 1
Liberty Assists: Kayla Foster 2, Jenna Joyal 2, Leah Ruby 1, Mia Toscano 1
Arizona State Goals: Maria Villanti 2, Taylor Carson 1, Emily Glagolev 1, Maura Cissel 1, Paige McGlothlin 1, Julia Burns 1
Arizona State Assists: Mallory Martel 2, Kaylon Buckner 1, Taylor Carson 1, Emily Glagolev 1, Olivia Hood 1
W: Katherine Widrick 11-2, 13 saves
L: Sophia Thomas 0-1, 3 saves
Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"Once again our girls battled. We had some slow stretches in the first half and some gaps in the game where we were a little rusty. But we came out in the second half and responded. This group always finds a way. We have some irreplaceable upperclassmen who consistently step up and make plays when we need them, and we needed a few today. This group gets better every time it steps on the field. They have put themselves in a great spot leading into Sunday. We are excited to prepare for a very good Jacksonville team!"
Arizona State pulled to within two goals (8-6) with 26:25 left in the game on a goal from Maria Villanti. Two of Liberty's captains, Foster and Brianna McCaffrey stepped up with three goals over the next 4:19 to give the hosts a five-goal advantage (11-6) with 22:06 left. Foster scored back-to-back tallies, her second and third of the game, and assisted on McCaffrey's marker which made it 11-6.
Arizona State only managed one more goal (Paige McGlothlin with 14:04 left), as the Lady Flames' White, Emily Browne and McCaffrey finished off a 6-1 run for the Lady Flames.
First Half Summary
• Liberty's Keebler was the sparkplug for the home attack in the opening minutes, scoring three times in the first 10:11 as the Lady Flames built a 4-1 lead. Two of those goals were assisted by junior attacker Jenna Joyal on nearly identical feeds, just 29 seconds apart (26:22 and 25:53 mark).
• Despite taking an 8-5 lead into the half, the Lady Flames were outshot 18-13 by the Sun Devils. Arizona State also had the advantage in the draw circle 9-5, led by four draw controls from Kylie Kroeger and three from Emily Glagolev.
• Liberty capitalized on eight-meter shots in the opening 30 minutes, going 3-of-3 on goals from White, Quast and Foster.
Second Half Summary
• Following the 10-minute intermission, the Lady Flames ratcheted up the defensive pressure and outshot the Sun Devils 27-8 in the final half. ASU only converted 47.4 percent (9-of-19) of its clears in the second half after going 7-of-8 in the first half. The Sun Devils finished the game 16-of-27 in the clear, compared to 21-of-25 (84 percent) for Liberty.
• The Lady Flames' McCaffrey had five ground balls and a caused turnover after intermission. White had four draw controls in the second stanza and a game-high six.
• Liberty held ASU scoreless over the final 14:04 of the game.
Key Stats & Notes
• Liberty is 11-2 for the first time in program history. The Lady Flames' current seven-game winning streak began on March 6 and spans over a month.
• During the winning streak, Liberty has outscored its opposition by an average of seven goals per game (15.43-8.43). The Lady Flames have won six of those seven contests by four or more goals. McCaffrey has 23 caused turnovers, and Steenson has 22 in those games.
• The Lady Flames held advantages in shots (40-26), ground balls (23-15), draw controls (12-11) and free-position goals (4-1). Liberty, the nation's top team in caused turnovers per game (16.33), dominated that category 14-4 on Friday.
• Widrick's career day (13 saves) was her sixth game of 10 or more saves, this season. The Camillus, N.Y., native holds a sterling 11-2 record with an 8.19 goals-against-average, .500 save percentage and 105 saves.
• White notched her eighth hat trick of the season. The junior from Marietta, Ga. is enjoying a career year with team bests in goals (30), assists (18) and points (48).
• This was Liberty's first game in 12 days. The Lady Flames topped Coastal Carolina 11-10 on March 31, prior to playing ASU today.
• Liberty is 2-0 all-time against Arizona State. Just over a year ago, the Lady Flames topped the Sun Devils 15-5 in Tempe, Ariz.
• The Lady Flames will be back in action on Sunday at Jacksonville (10-3, 3-0 ASUN) in what will be a battle for first place in the ASUN Conference. Both teams are unbeaten (3-0) in the ASUN, and the winner will take over first place in the league. First draw is pegged for 1 p.m. at the Jacksonville Lacrosse Center.
• Liberty and JU will square off for the fifth time but first in seven years. The Dolphins are 4-0 in the all-time series.