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Lady Flames Sweep William & Mary, Earn 9th Win in Row
|Nzea McQuitery hit .450 with 12 kills, also adding four blocks on Tuesday against William & Mary.|
Liberty outlasted William & Mary, 33-31, during an extended first set on Tuesday at the Vines Center, and the Lady Flames went on to complete a tight, 3-0 (33-31, 25-22, 25-23) sweep over the visiting Tribe.
The Lady Flames (18-5) pushed their winning streak to nine matches with the victory. Liberty's winning streak is its longest since going on a 10-match streak late in the 2012 campaign. William & Mary fell to 5-16 on the season.
Tonight's first set was Liberty's longest since falling, 34-32, to Minnesota during set three in the 2012 NCAA Volleyball Championship first round.
For the match, Liberty outhit the Tribe, .240-.189. The Lady Flames led, 71-66 in digs and 4-3 in aces, while William & Mary held a slight, 9-8 lead in blocks.
Liberty redshirt junior Caroline Douglas recorded her eighth double-double, with 20 kills and 10 digs. She has reached 20 kills in seven out of Liberty's last eight matches. Sophomore Nzea McQuitery hit .450 with 12 kills, in addition to four blocks. Freshman Hannah Weidner scored 10 kills, good for her 17th straight 10-kill match.
Senior Gabrielle Shipe collected 17 digs, moving her past Lara Bartolomeo (2004-07) into fifth place all-time at Liberty with 1,569 career digs. Junior Caila Stapleton totaled a match-high 45 assists and 16 digs, good for her ninth double-double. Junior Jade Vorster recorded nine kills and four blocks, while sophomore Kate Corson registered 10 digs.
William & Mary junior Mallory Brickerd sent down 20 kills, tying Douglas for the match high. Freshman Sydney Biniak recorded 10 kills and four blocks, while junior Carolyn Albright led all players with seven blocks. Freshman Sara Zumbach collected 19 digs, and redshirt sophomore Michelle Heath added 10 digs.
A late Vorster kill made the score, 24-20, Liberty in set one. William & Mary then fought off four straight set-point attempts, tying the score at 24-24 with an Albright/Biniak block. Two more Liberty set-point chances went by the boards, before the Tribe inched ahead. After the Lady Flames erased four set-clinching opportunities by the visitors, they earned the win, 33-31. Douglas sent down a kill and then served up an ace on Liberty's eighth set-point opportunity of the opening session.
William & Mary held a .300-.271 edge in hitting percentage during set one. Douglas and Weidner scored six kills apiece for the Lady Flames, who recorded 24 kills as a team.
Liberty built an early 9-4 lead in the second set after four straight kills by Douglas. Vorster sent down a kill for a 20-13 Lady Flames advantage. William & Mary answered with a 6-1 rally that featured two kills and a pair of blocks by Brickerd. Liberty stretched the lead to 24-19, but the visitors managed to pull to within 24-22. McQuitery then scored the set-clinching kill.
The Lady Flames outhit William & Mary, .167-.095 during set two, although the guests led, 5-4 in blocks. Douglas scored nine set-two kills, while Brickerd had six kills for the Tribe.
Trailing, 22-18 in set three, Brickerd scored four straight kills to tie the set at 22-all. A Racz/McQuitery block and a kill by McQuitery pushed Liberty back ahead, 24-22. Brickerd responded with a kill, but a McQuitery spike completed the sweep, 25-23 in the third frame.
Liberty led, .264-.161 in attack percentage during the final stanza. Brickerd registered nine kills for the Tribe.
The Lady Flames return to conference play for the rest of the season, beginning with a weekend trip to Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina. Liberty will play at CSU on Friday at 7 p.m., before taking on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Saturday at 2 p.m.