paul beljan marshall

Feb. 16, 2018; Paul Beljan looking for an open shot against Marshall

The West Virginia University lacrosse team is just coming off a successful trip to Texas, winning the inaugural Big 12 Classic, and now opens SELC play at 20th-ranked Liberty on Saturday.

The Mountaineers (2-1) were thumped 24-1 by the Flames in Martinsburg last season, but this year's team isn't even think about last year.

"It sucked losing to them 24-1, but we're a totally new team," junior midfielder Paul Beljan said. "I think we have three kids back from last year that were actually out there all the time."

West Virginia went into last week's Big 12 Classic with the plan of using the weekend finale against Oklahoma as the litmus test for Liberty. The Mountaineers lost 15-6.

"Oklahoma was very well coached," WVU head coach Brian Houk said. "They played very fast. They had a good scouting report on us. They were just very efficient. They didn't make as many mistakes as we did and they took advantage of our mistakes. This week, we're just trying to kind of learn from our mistakes and we anticipate Liberty will play at the same pace that they do."

Liberty (1-1) split two true road games to start their season last weekend, beating conference foe Tennessee 19-9 and losing to then-No. 15 South Carolina 10-8.

The Flames are led offensively by midfielder Carter Elliot and Sam Gregory, who are responsible for 12 of the team's 27 points so far this season.

LU plays two goalies, Ryan Reynolds and Brayden Harriman. As of press time, there is no word as to who will start against WVU.

Saturday's WVU-Liberty game will make history as it is the first non-varsity collegiate lacrosse game on an ESPN network.

"It's very cool," Houk said. "Liberty is really the ones who set it up. They have a really high-quality streaming network. It's awesome though, we get to show what we got to the whole lacrosse world."

The Mountaineers and the Flames will face off on Saturday at 3 p.m. and will be available to be streamed on the WatchESPN app and espn.com/watch

Sports Editor

In addition to being a sports writer for the DA, John is a freelance reporter for the Associated Press and the Dominion Post. John is also a writer and editor at the Smoking Musket (WVU's SB Nation community).