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Liberty Sweeps Howard, 3-0
Liberty recorded a 3-0 sweep over Howard (25-21, 25-22, 25-21) to open the 2014 Liberty Invitational, Friday at the Vines Center.
With the win, its third in a row, Liberty improves to 4-1 on the season, while Howard falls to 2-3. The Lady Flames have won all three meetings against the Bison.
The Lady Flames won a defensive match, outhitting the Bison, .130 to .097. Liberty recorded 8.0 team blocks, compared to 6.0 for Howard. The Bison won the digs battle, 43-38.
Liberty freshman Hannah Weidner sent down a team-high 11 kills, her fifth straight 10-kill match, and added a career-high five blocks. Junior Jade Vorster recorded a match-high six blocks. Senior Gabrielle Shipe paced Liberty with seven digs, while junior Caila Stapleton dished out a team-high 25 assists and redshirt junior Caroline Douglas recorded eight kills.
Howard's Khaila Donaldson recorded a match-high 12 kills, while Allyson Lods led all players with 10 digs. Senior Stephanie Shultis recorded a match-best 31 assists.
The Lady Flames and Bison both put up big blocking numbers during set one, with Liberty registering five blocks and Howard posting four blocks in the first stanza. Weidner and Vorster both recorded four kills and four blocks for Liberty in the opening frame, while Destinee Harrison had three blocks for Howard.
Vorster's fourth kill of the set gave Liberty a 24-16 advantage, before four Liberty errors and a Donaldson kill brought Howard to within three, 24-21. Weidner then ended the set, 25-21, with a kill.
Set two was the most efficient of the match, with Liberty hitting .440 and Howard attacking at a .300 pace. Weidner connected for seven kills on nine attempts, while Donaldson countered with six kills for the Bison.
Howard held a 17-16, set-two advantage, before Liberty went on a 3-0 run, capped by a kill from Weidner. That sparked a 7-4 overall rally for Liberty, giving the Lady Flames set point, 24-20. Howard fought off two set points, before a Douglas kill ended it, 25-22.
The Lady Flames captured the third set, 25-21, completing the sweep despite hitting -.026 during the session. Howard hit just .023, with 11 kills and 10 errors. Weidner and Shipe both recorded an ace in the final set.
Liberty trailed by two, 18-16, before two kills from Nzea McQuitery sparked a 3-0 Liberty rally. After an Assata Conway kill tied the score, 19-19, the hosts then scored five out of the next six points, and pulled away for a 25-21 victory to earn the 3-0 match win.