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Liberty Cruises Past Winthrop, 3-0, Pushes Winning Streak to 13

October 25, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Junior Jade Vorster set a new single-season, rally-scoring program record with her 26th solo block of the season on Saturday.

The Liberty volleyball team earned its 13th consecutive victory, racing to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-22) sweep of the visiting Winthrop Eagles on Saturday at the Vines Center.

The Lady Flames (22-5) remain perfect in Big South play, with their 9-0 conference mark, serving as the fastest start in program history. Liberty's 13-match winning streak is its longest singe a program-record 16-match streak in 2007. Winthrop is now 15-10, with a 5-4 Big South ledger.

Liberty outhit Winthrop, .188-.112, on the match. The hosts held a 45-28 edge in digs, while the Eagles led, 10-6 in blocks and 3-2 in service aces.

Freshman Sirena Vorster scored a match-high nine kills to go along with three blocks for Liberty. Junior Jade Vorster totaled eight kills and three blocks (two solo, one assisted). With 26 solo blocks this season, Jade Vorster has broken the previous single-season rally-scoring program record of 25, set by Loren Thomas in 2011.

Junior Caila Stapleton dished out 26 assists and added eight digs. Stapleton has totaled 1,023 assists this season, becoming the sixth Lady Flame since 2001 with 1,000 or more assists in a season. Senior Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 10 digs, while redshirt junior Caroline Douglas sent down seven kills.

Winthrop senior Rachel Lenz led all players with seven blocks, while sophomore Brianna Gray scored a team-best seven kills. Sophomore Kelly Scott distributed 20 assists and sophomore Maria Volstad collected nine digs.

Liberty pulled ahead with a 10-5 run during the first set, taking a 19-13 lead after a Winthrop miscue. Keaupono Fey capped a three-point rally, scoring a kill to make it 19-16. Leading 20-17, the Lady Flames scored the final five points in a row, a surge sparked by a Sirena Vorster kill.

The Lady Flames hit .148 in set one, compared to .088 for Winthrop. Sirena Vorster recorded four kills during the opening session.

The hosts won the second stanza by an identical 25-17 score, outhitting the Eagles, .379-.098 while posting four blocks. Liberty staked a double-digit lead, 19-9, after two kills by Jade Vorster and a Douglas winner. Winthrop eventually drew to within five, 22-17, on a Gray kill, but Liberty closed to the finish the set.

With Liberty trailing, 13-9, in set three, five consecutive Eagle errors pushed the Lady Flames ahead, 14-13. Winthrop regained the lead, 15-14, after Lenz recorded the team's fifth and sixth blocks of the set.

After Nikki Drost scored a kill to tie the set, 20-20, Liberty scored the next three points. A pair of Winthrop errors made it 23-20, Lady Flames. Both teams held serve until the end of the set, with Liberty completing the sweep, 25-22.

Winthrop outhit Liberty, .156-.034, during the final session, while posting six blocks. Four service errors cost the Eagles.

The Lady Flames head to the road for their next three matches, starting on Friday at 7 p.m. with a showdown at conference rival Radford. Liberty is 9-0 in away matches this season, and downed the Highlanders, 3-1, on Sept. 26 in both teams' Big South opener.