All Time vs. Liberty: 2-0 • At VT: 1-0 • At Liberty: 1-0 • Neutral: 0-0
Notes: The Hokies have never lost to Liberty and will look to keep the winning streak going in the midweek contest ... Tech defeated the Flames 18-2 in the only meeting thus far in Lynchburg in 2011, and outed them 13-8 a season ago in Blacksburg ... Current volunteer assistant Ryan Rotanz led the Hokies in last year’s win with four goals, while 2013 senior captain Brooke Martin added three scores ... The trip to Lynchburg is Tech’s shortest of the season.
The Flames have a busy week this week as they already played on Monday, will host the Hokies Wednesday, and return to action Friday. Liberty is coming off an 8-6 win over Big South foe Campbell Monday afternoon to move to 1-1 in conference play. The Flames are the fourth of five Big South teams that Tech has already faced this season, as it has already traveled to High Point, Davidson and Coastal Carolina, and will round out the group welcoming Longwood to Blacksburg next week.
Leading the charge for Liberty this season has been Morgan Becker with 19 goals, while Sam Struss leads the team with 27 points, byway of 17 assists and 10 goals. On the defensive end, Jen Freymond has grabbed 35 ground balls this season and caused 19 turnovers. In cage for the Flames has been Kristen Masullo, who has made 91 saves, good for a .503 percentage while also boasting the team’s record.
Last Time Out
The Hokies battled No. 3 North Carolina at Thompson Field last weekend, but the Tar Heels pulled away in the second half and took the conference game, 18-11. The two teams traded goals and leads to begin the game, but back-to-back goals from Brooke Martin sparked a four-goal run for Tech. The run midway through the half put the Hokies up 6-3 and forced a North Carolina timeout.
The Tar Heels responded after the regrouping and scored six straight goals to regain the lead, but Tech only trailed 9-7 at the half. The second half began with a 6-1 North Carolina run to create some distance for the Tar Heels.
The loss halted a three-game winning streak for the Hokies, but the 11 goals Tech put up on the Heels overpowered a strong defense that only allowed just under eight goals entering the game. The total also matched the most goals Carolina has allowed all year.
Tech will have the weekend off from games, but it will return to action with a full week of play next week. The Hokies will return home to face Longwood midweek, before their first-ever meeting with Delaware State on Saturday, April 13.
Big off the Bench
Junior attacker Kelly Naslonski earned the first start of her career last weekend and did not disappoint. Naslonski has given Tech great production off the bench this season, putting up at least two points in five of the eight games she has played in, including two 4-point performances. Against No. 3 North Carolina last weekend, the East Setauket, N.Y., native scored two goals and assisted another.
Controlling the Draw
The Hokies as a team have dominated the draw this season, winning 145 so far, while their opponent has only won 119. Sophomore Meg Bartley leads the league averaging 5.00 per game, while the team sits at fourth in the conference with 13.18 per game.
The Hokies are among the top teams in the conference in offensive production, trailing only Maryland and Duke averaging 4.82 assists and 16.45 points per game.Tech sits at fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 11.64 goals per game, just behind North Carolina which scores 12.33 goals per outing. The Hokie attacked had a great outing against the No. 3 Tar Heels last weekend, matching the most goals the Heels have allowed this season with 11.
Showing great efficiency, the Hokies have earned their fourth-place ranking while taking the fewest shots per game among league teams.
Senior Alex Gale is one of just two current players on Tech’s roster to rank amongst the all-time best in career stats, as she sits in fifth place at Tech with 360 career saves.
Sophomore Meg Bartley has already broken into the all-time top 10, sitting in seventh place with 98 career draws. She has also made her second notch on the single-seasons draw list, ranking sixth with 55 so far this year.
Senior Julia Heaps is on the brim of cracking into the top-10 at Tech as she has 27 career assists, needing just eight more, while sophomore Megan Will is 10 goals away from breaking into the single-season scoring list with 27 goals already.
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