Lacrosse set for first Big South road game Saturday at Liberty

(ScarboroughPhotography.com)
(ScarboroughPhotography.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell will play the first road game in its 2017 Big South Conference slate on Saturday against Liberty in Lynchburg, Virginia. First draw is set for noon.

It's a first place battle featuring two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in Big South action. The Camels are looking for their first 3-0 start to league play in program history.

Saturday's contest will be broadcast on the Big South Network and live stats will be available through gocamels.com. Live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Campbell (5-6, 2-0 BSC) matched the program's largest win over a Big South opponent Wednesday afternoon in a 17-3 victory over Presbyterian. Eleven different players registered a point for the Camels. CU held an opponent scoreless in a half for the first time in program history and its 13-straight goals to start the game matched a program record. Tina Ricci and Mackenzie Koeller finished with a game-high five points each while Koeller and Melissa Placek both scored three goals apiece.

REILLY NAMED POTW: After registering a career-high eight points on five assists and three goals versus Winthrop, Kayla Reilly was named the Big South Offensive Player of the Week. It was her second career POTW honor and third conference weekly honor overall.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features a balanced attack from a variety of scoring options. Eleven different players have found the back of the cage for the Camels this season in an offense that is averaging 11.09 goals per game. That's currently the third-highest tally in the Big South.

LEADING THE WAY: Kayla Reilly and Placek are the leaders the Camel offense. Reilly has cumulated a team-high 42 points on 20 goals and 22 assists. She is averaging 2.00 assists per game, which stands second in the conference and 30th nationally. Placek has a team-high 26 goals and nine assists to go with a team-high 56 draw controls. That's an average of 5.06 draws per contests, which also ranks second in the Big South and 26th nationally.

A LITTLE DEFENSIVE: Campbell's scoring defense stands second in the league, as opponents are averaging 13.00 goals per game. The Camels feature a veteran defensive unit headlined by Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the year Erin O'Hara and fifth-year senior April Reinhart. Megan Reilly has also started every game and Amanda Chasin has seen significant minutes. Allison Waldhauser has started the past three contests.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Merredith Bechler has started nine games in goal, but all three Camel goalkeepers have seen time in the cage this season. Bechler owns a 0.391 save percentage, which ranks fourth in the Big South, while Her 7.20 saves per game and 12.59 goals against average stands third. Alex Salim has appeared in the last three games while Kylie Haarhoff started versus Virginia Tech and earned the win over La Salle.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS: Numerous members of the Camels' freshman class have already made significant impacts early in their careers. Tina Ricci ranks third on the team in points with 25 on 14 goals and 11 assists. Sam Carey has started every contest and ranks second on the team in draw controls with 36. Katie Matz has scored in seven games and netted the game-winning goal versus La Salle. Maia Walters made the start versus the Explorers.

LIMITING MISCUES: The Camels are averaging the fewest turnovers in the league with just 15.55 miscues per game, which ranks 17th nationally.

CONTROLLING THE DRAW: Campbell is averaging 13.91 draw controls per contest. That tally ranks second in the Big South and 28th nationally.

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek after leading the Camels to the most successful season in program history last year. She coached CU in its first postseason victory to advance to its first Big South semifinals. Easley has mentored 12 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell.

CAMELS PICKED THIRD: Campbell received its highest preseason billing in program history when the Big South coaches picked the Camels to finish third in the league standings. High Point was tabbed as the preseason favorites followed by defending champions Winthrop in second.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Camels and Flames have split the four meetings between the two programs. Campbell claimed a narrow 11-10 victory last season in Buies Creek. CU sealed the win when it picked off a pass in Flames' final possession of the game as they looked to score the game-tying goal. Neither side has won on the opposing field. Overall, Liberty holds a 53-46 scoring advantage between the four contests.

SCOUTING THE FLAMES: Liberty (3-9, 2-0) has tallied back-to-back 18-8 wins over Presbyterian and Longwood to open Big South play. The Flames are causing the most turnovers in the league with 11.17 per game while their 22.42 ground balls per game stand second and eighth nationally. In goal, Katherine Widrick's 12.24 goals against average ranks second in the Big South.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Camels will play their second-straight road contest on Wednesday when they take on Longwood in Farmville, Virginia at 3 p.m.