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Liberty Volleyball Adds Downs, Latchford
Liberty volleyball 11th-year head coach Shane Pinder and his staff have announced the addition of a pair of defensive specialists to the team's 2015 roster. Margaret Latchford and Sarah Downs, both Virginia natives, have signed to attend Liberty starting in the 2015-16 academic year.
"We are excited about the depth we are adding to this class from a ball control standpoint," Pinder said. "While both of the ladies are great athletes, they are also great fits for the Liberty mission and our program."
Margaret Latchford (DS/L, 5-2, Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne High School)
Margaret Latchford has been a four-year standout for Princess Anne High School, where she is on pace to become her school's career leader with more than 1,000 digs. In 2012, she was named a PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79 special mention, in addition to second team all-region and second team all-district honors. She has been named to the Prep Volleyball.com Defensive Dandies/Gym Dandies each of the last two years, including seventh-team mention this season. As a junior, she was named first team all-state, all-region and All-Tidewater, while being tabbed the Atlantic Conference 9 Player of the Year.
She helped Princess Anne to the 2014 Virginia HS Volleyball Showcase championship, and an appearance in the 2013 State Group A Final Four. In 2013, she earned a doubles championship at the Misty May "Dream in Gold-DIG" Beach volleyball tournament.
"We are excited about Margaret joining our program," Pinder added. "She has great speed, athleticism and skill at the Libero position. One thing that sets her apart from other defenders is her natural instincts to the ball. Her speed, determination and vision allow her to cover a lot of court. With the graduation of Gabby (Shipe) she will be called on to anchor our defense and bring stability to our serve receive game."
Sarah Downs (DS/L, 5-7, Forest, Va./Liberty Christian Academy)
Sarah Downs will join the Lady Flames after a four-year career at Liberty Christian Academy. She aided the Bulldogs in winning their conference championship in both 2013 and 2014. Downs was named first team all-district as a sophomore, following up with a second team all-conference nod in 2013. She earned Flint Hill all-tournament team mention as a junior. This year, Downs was voted to the all-conference first team, in addition to all-tournament team honors, while registering 478 digs and 98 aces. She finished her high school career with 1,045 career digs.
She competed in club volleyball for six years, between Junior Olympic and AAU competitions. Downs is the second LCA Bulldog in as many years to join the Liberty volleyball team, after Rachel Morris in 2014.
"We add another defender and serve receive passer with Sarah," said Pinder. "She is really quick to the ball and has great touch with her platform. Sarah also plays with great passion and determination. We expect Sarah to come in and add competition to our gym."