This spring is what many in college athletics have referred to as Super Spring. Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and most sports shut down during the fall and winter, the spring has become home to most college teams’ seasons in 2021. For Liberty, 19 of the school’s 20 Division I programs are in competition this spring, and, if you include football going through spring practice, all of the 20 programs are in action.
We will provide weekly updates on all of Liberty’s NCAA Division I teams in action this spring, with the exception of football, men’s basketball, and baseball, as we cover those teams regularly.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (19-8, 12-4)
The Lady Flames have finished their season, falling to No. 1 seed FGCU in the ASUN Championship Game, 84-62. Liberty defeated No. 7 Bellarmine, 88-59, and No. 3 North Florida, 65-52, to advance to the program’s 22nd conference tournament final in the past 25 years. FGCU ended up with an 11 seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, losing in the First Round.
After winning the ASUN Women’s Cross Country Championship, the Lady Flames advanced to the program’s first ever appearance at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Liberty posted a 27th place finish while Adelyn Ackley (66th place) and Calli Doan (85th place) each notched top 100 individual finishes.
#6 FIELD HOCKEY (12-2, 10-2)
The Lady Flames defeated Temple in a pair of matches this past weekend, 4-2 and 2-0, on Saturday and Sunday to finish Big East conference play at 10-2. Liberty hosts Davidson this coming Sunday at 2 pm in a non-conference showdown in the regular season finale. The Big East Field Hockey Championship Semifinals will be played April 22 in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The Lady Flames are currently in 2nd place, just percentage points behind UConn who is 8-1 and in first place.
No. 15 Liberty closed its appearance at The Hayt with an even par 288 team score to finish in fourth place. Kieran Vincent, who is ranked No. 14 in the country individually, finished in 5th place. 9 of the 14 teams in the field are currently ranked inside the top 50 in the latest Golfstat national rankings. Tournament host and fellow ASUN foe North Florida, who is ranked No. 26 in the country, finished the event in second place. Liberty is back on the course in the 2021 Liberty Invitational April 12-13 at Poplar Grove in Amherst.
In their only game this week, Liberty was defeated by No. 23 James Madison, 8-5, at the Liberty Lacrosse Field. Liberty’s Brooke Bryan led the way with a game high four goals in the contest. The Lady Flames are scheduled to host Coastal Carolina Saturday, April 10th and travel to take on the Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday, April 13 in Durham, North Carolina.
WOMEN’S SOCCER (3-5-5, 2-3-3)
The Lady Flames concluded the regular season with a 5-3 loss at home to Virginia Tech. Liberty begins play in the ASUN Championship with a first round match scheduled for Wednesday at 1 pm from Lynchburg against No.5 North seed North Alabama. With a win, the Lady Flames would advance to the Quarterfinals and face No. 1 North seed Lipscomb on Saturday in Nashville.
MEN’S SOCCER (6-2-2, 1-2-1)
The men’s soccer team has not played since March 28th when they finished in a 0-0 tie at Lipscomb. Those two teams will meet in the ASUN Quarterfinals in Nashville on Saturday at 7 pm. The Flames are the No. 3 North seed while Lipscomb is the No. 2 seed in the North Division.
SOFTBALL (23-12, 4-2)
The Lady Flames were swept by Kennesaw State on Friday afternoon in a doubleheader, falling 3-2 and 5-4. Amber Bishop-Riley made history with her game-tying home run in the bottom of the fifth of the second game. She became the first player in NCAA softball history to record five 10-homer seasons. She also became Liberty’s all-time leader with 59 career home runs, passing Jessica Moore. In Saturday’s series finale, Liberty got a walk off in the 7th inning when Autumn Bishop’s sacrifice fly sealed a 3-2 win over the Owls.
On Tuesday, Liberty took the short trek north to take on the Virginia Cavaliers, and recorded eight extra base hits during a 12-3, run-rule victory over Virginia in the team’s first visit to Virginia’s new softball stadium Palmer Park. The 12 runs were the most for the Lady Flames in a single game against an ACC opponent in program history. Liberty is set to host North Alabama for three games this weekend, beginning Saturday at 2 pm.
SWIMMING & DIVING (3-0, 3-0)
Senior Payton Keiner placed 49th in the 200 backstroke at the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. Keiner also finished 54th in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Maddie Freece placed 9th in the three-meter diving on day two of the NCAA Division I Women’s Diving Zone A Championships and Junior Lauren Chennault finished 22nd.
WOMEN’S TENNIS (16-4, 5-0)
The Lady Flames remained perfect in ASUN play following their 4-3 win over Lipscomb on Thursday and 5-2 win over North Alabama on Saturday, both played at the Liberty Indoor Tennis Center. Liberty defeated Radford 6-1 on Monday to continue their winning ways. The Lady Flames host VCU Wednesday before playing host to Bellarmine on Senior Day Saturday.
#40 MEN’S TENNIS (15-6, 5-0)
Liberty lost 5-2 at No. 41 Duke on Wednesday, but the Flames quickly rebounded with impressive conference wins at home. The Flames defeated Lipscomb 6-1 on Thursday and North Alabama 7-0 on Saturday. Liberty will look to conclude its conference regular season undefeated on Saturday when it hosts Bellarmine. Sunday, the Flames face Charlotte and then travels to Clemson for the regular season finale on Tuesday.
TRACK & FIELD
Liberty’s duo of Brittany Carnathan and Caleb Olson each excelled in debut races on Thursday. Carnathan placed third in the steeplechase with a time that ranks No. 6 all-time at Liberty. Olson finished 2nd in the 5K. Competing in his first outdoor 800 meter race since 2018, Bradley Prentice captured the VertKlasse Meeting title on Friday. He led from wire to wire and defeated the runner up from High Point by more than two seconds. The Flames will head to Greensboro, North Carolina on April 10 for the Aggie Invitational, the first of two meets Liberty is scheduled to compete in at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Belk Track this season.
VOLLEYBALL (5-9, 5-7)
Liberty’s volleyball season came to an end at the KSU Convocation Center as the Lady Flames fell to defending ASUN champion Kennesaw State, 3-0, in the ASUN Quarterfinals. Liberty has been eliminated by Kennesaw State from the ASUN tournament for the second year in a row.