Pierson Leads the Bearcats Past Liberty

LYNCHBURG, Va. Liberty and Cincinnati were all-square, 5-5, through the opening 30 minutes of women's lacrosse action, Sunday afternoon, but the Bearcats scored eight goals in the second half to pull away for the 13-8 win.

Marissa Pierson led Cincinnati's scoring with four second-half goals, while Katie Kiriazoglou had a hand in six goals, posting three goals and three assists. Laura Simanski and Kylie Ramsland, both posted their 11th and 12th scores of the year. Single goals from Rachel Mercier and Megan Bell rounded out the Bearcats' scoring. Mercier also contributed three assists, while Bell and Simanski had one apiece.

Liberty was led by Kristin Crowley, who posted the first goal of both halves, and ended with three scores. Morgan Becker contributed two goals on the afternoon, and freshmen Kacie Fogle and Sam Struss each provided one score apiece.

Liberty falls to 0-3 with the loss, while the Bearcats improve to 3-2 as they close their five-game road stretch to begin the season.

Neither team managed more than a one-goal advantage in the opening half, as both struggled to claim momentum.

Crowley gave the Lady Flames a 1-0 lead nearly two minutes into the game, scoring on an unassisted effort at the 28:13 mark.

Kiriazoglou, one of three Bearcats to enter the game with ten goals on the year, squared the match on a free position shot five minutes later, before Bell claimed Cincinnati's first lead of the afternoon at the 20:15 mark. Bell's goal was assisted by Simanski.

The Lady Flames responded with two goals of their own to reclaim the lead, 3-2. Dunay chalked up the first goal on an unassisted play, as she saw her first game action since suffering a season-ending injury six games into the 2011 season. The Ashburn, Va., native led the team in scoring through those six games, with 21 goals. Becker then found the back of the net, with Fogle claiming the helper.

Simanski, another one of the Bearcats' 10-goal scorers, knotted the match once again, 3-3, on an unassisted effort of her own at the 14:36 mark.

Fogle gave the Lady Flames the edge once again, scoring on an assist from Crowley, with 13:27 remaining in the half. Struss then notched the first goal of her collegiate career, as she drove from the right side of the field and scored on a diving shot through the lane, giving Liberty a 5-3 cushion.

The Bearcats responded once again to close the half, scoring a pair of goals in roughly 40 seconds. Mercier scored unassisted on a man-up advantage, before Kiriazoglou contributed the final score of the opening 30 minutes, with Mercier scoring the assist.

Both teams fired off 10 shots in the first half, while starting goalkeepers Kristen Masullo for Liberty and Jennifer Walsh for Cincinnati tallied four saves.

A fast-paced first half saw Cincinnati only convert 7 of 15 clear attempts, while the Lady Flames were 8 of 11. Turnovers were also high, with Cincinnati posting 15 to Liberty's 13.

The second half featured a much slower pace, but the Bearcats dominated offensive possession, scoring eight goals to just three for Liberty.

Crowley began the second half with her second goal of the game near the 25-minute mark, once again on an unassisted effort to give Liberty the 6-5 edge. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, it would be their last lead of the afternoon.

The Bearcats then rolled off five goals in the next 15 minutes of game action, to earn a 10-6 advantage they would not relinquish. Pierson notched a pair of goals, while Kiriazoglou, Simanski and Ramsland each contributed one goal.

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