M Cross Country:
The Flames have placed 1st, 1st, and 6th after three races this season, boasting a very talented group of runners. Coach Brant Tolsma pointed out that in the Flames 6th place finish, they were only 20 seconds away per man from claiming a victory against a tough slate of teams. The Flames should continue to get better as there is great competition within the team. There are about four guys on the team who could potentially win a race on a given day, and two runners, Caleb Edmunds and Josh MacDonald, have both already claimed Big South Runner of the Week honors.
W Cross Country:
The Lady Flames have had finishes of 1st, 2nd, and 12th through three races this season. This is a solid start for the young squad, featuring a number of freshman, some of which will need to consistently finish in the Flames’ top five runners. Junior Jacy Christiansen looks to be the top runner this year. She is posting some remarkable times and was given the Big South Conference Runner of the Week honor after the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. There are two more races before the Flames worry about what should be a very competitive Big South Conference Championships.
The Lady Flames have gotten off to a 5-4 start thus far, but this is a deceiving number as to how good this Flames team can be. Liberty has lost all 4 matches by a total of 5 goals, and have faced a tough schedule, including Cal, UVA, and Wake. They are led by goalkeeper Ann Jefferis who already has multiple NorPac East Conference Player of the Week honors. She has been vital to the Flames outstanding defensive numbers as the team has allowed just 11 goals through 9 games thus far. Liberty will be entering the heat of their conference schedule over the next few weeks, beginning with Davidson on Saturday.
It seems like the Flames like to jump out and claim one of the top spots day 1, but find themselves fading to the middle of the pack by the end of tournaments. They are averaging a finish of 5.7 of 13 teams thus far, not a bad number with all the new faces turning in their scores this year. The Flames are led by seniors Niklas Lindstrom and Chase Marinell. Both of these guys have already had very successful Liberty careers, but will be looking to do something special in their senior year. Liberty will wrap up their fall slate of tournaments October 12 and 13 at the Rod Myers Invitational.
The Flames have started the season with a 4-4 record, and a 1-3 record in the Big South. They have a problem with letting teams hang around and score late goals, resulting in heartbreaking losses. Scott Sutarik was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on September 9 for his efforts in the prior week. Sachem Wilson was named Attacking Player of the Week on September 9 as well, and leads the team in goals. Liberty also returns last year’s leading point scorer, Kyle Breitmeyer. October will consist of quite a few Big South match ups, giving the team a chance to turn this season either in the right or wrong direction.
The Women are off to a solid 7-3-1 start and 2-0-1 in the Big South. They are exceeding expectations thus far behind redshirt freshman goalkeeper Holly Van Noord, who has already claimed a Big South and ECAC Defensive Player of the Week award. Two of the Flames’ three losses have come in overtime, only losing once in regulation. The Flames have only allowed only 2 goals in regular time this season while only allowing 4 total goals through eleven games this season. We’ll find out if this team is for real as they finish the season with eight Big South matches in a row.
I have only had the chance to see one volleyball match this season, and it was the Lady Flames’ lone win, at home against Georgetown. They actually looked really good and I thought they would be on their way to another successful season at the time. Instead, they have posted a 1-13 record thus far, an extremely surprising number for the team they have returning (five starters from last year’s Big South Championship team). Liberty has only won 6 sets (3 of which came against Georgetown), leaving ten of their fourteen total matches as 0-3 losses. In their defense, they have only had the opportunity to play once at home, and they won that match. Since all 13 losses came on the road, it will be interesting to see how they do at home tomorrow against Gardner-Webb.