BOILING SPRINGS – Liberty took control with an early burst and came away with a 21-7 win over Gardner-Webb Thursday in Big South women's lacrosse action at Spangler Stadium.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (0-14, 0-4 Big South) fell behind 9-0 with 7:31 to play in the opening half, but rallied with a furious 4-0 run in the final four minutes of the half – and the first 56 seconds of the second half.
Lindsey Lippert scored off an assist from Amanda Steinmuller for Gardner-Webb's first goal at the 3:48 mark, then Steinmuller scored with 2:53 before the break for a 9-2 margin. Emma Rose connected off a pass from Abby Hanscom with 42 seconds left on the clock to swing momentum in the home team's favor.
The Flames (4-10, 3-1 Big South) seized control from there, scoring four in a row over the next five minutes to go up 13-4.
Gardner-Webb answered with an unassisted goal from Hanscom at the 22:52 mark, but Liberty ran off three in a row – with Carly White's score with 14:53 to go putting the visitors up 16-5.
The Runnin' Bulldogs put two more scores on the board, with Steinmuller playing a part in both. She assisted on another Lippert goal with 13:33 to play to cut the lead to 16-6, then scored off a free position to make it 18-7 with 6:19 to play.
Liberty closed the game with three more goals in the final five minutes, including two from Brittany Tickle over the final 135 seconds for the final margin.
The Flames put forth a flurry of shots in the opening 30 minutes (29) and finished with 52 shots on the afternoon – holding a 52-22 edge in that category.
Midfielder Brianna McCaffrey was very effective with 10 draw controls, with five of those coming in a first half that saw Liberty own a 12-1 advantage.
Courtney Brown led the Flames with four goals and Kayla Foster finished with three goals and eight assists. Paige Britton came off the bench to score three goals and four more Flames had two goals each.
Gardner-Webb was led by Steinmuller, who finished with two goals and two assists. Lippert added a pair of goals for GWU and picked up three ground balls. The junior from Syracuse also caused three turnovers in the game.
Hanscom finished with one goal, one assist, five ground balls and four caused turnovers in a balanced afternoon. Rose and Donaldson each had four ground balls, while Michelle Hedrick finished with a pair and two caused turnovers.
Starter Katie Sylvester was busy in the net, saving 15 shots in her 42 minutes of action.
Gardner-Webb will be back in action on Saturday, hitting the road to battle Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C. The game will start at 1:00 pm.