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Liberty Scores 3-1 Win Over Georgetown in Home Opener
Behind a balanced attack and effective blocking, Liberty downed Georgetown, 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16) on Tuesday night in its home opener at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames (1-3) picked up their first win of the season, Tuesday. It was the 700th win in program history, and 175th victory for 10th-year Liberty Head Coach Shane Pinder. Dating back to last season, Liberty has now won 15 home matches in a row. The Hoyas' record evened at 2-2 with the loss.
Liberty outhit Georgetown, .269 to .212, on the evening, while the Lady Flames held a 13.5-6.5 advantage in blocks. The Hoyas led in aces, 6-3, and in digs, 67-63.
Lillie Happel led Liberty with season highs of 17 kills and 10 digs, for her 27th career double-double. Happel is now 14 kills away from 1,000 for her career. Jade Craycraft tied her career high with 10 kills in addition to 42 assists and five blocks, giving her 25 career double-doubles.
Kendle Rollins totaled 11 kills and seven blocks, and is now in sole possession of sixth all-time at Liberty with 325 career blocks. Gabrielle Shipe collected a season-high 23 digs, while Susan Babcock chipped in a season-best 11 kills. Nzea McQuitery tied for the match high with six block assists, while Becca Haraf posted nine digs and two aces.
Alex Johnson tallied 16 kills to pace the visiting Hoyas, while adding 12 digs. Lauren Saar (11 kills, 17 digs), also recorded a double-double, while Caitlin Brauneis dished out a match-high 46 assists. MacKenzie Thompson led the Hoyas with 18 digs.
The Lady Flames led set one from start to finish, stretching their lead to seven points, 19-12, on a kill from Happel. A 9-4 Georgetown run ensued, featuring four kills from Dani White, and Liberty held a 23-21 lead. Happel closed the set with kills on Georgetown's last two serves, and Liberty prevailed, 25-22.
Happel and White both recorded six set-one kills, while Liberty held a .256 to .195 edge on the attack.
Set two went back and forth, with nine ties and three lead changes. Liberty led, 10-9, following Babcock's third kill of the set. The Hoyas then moved into the lead with a three-point run, and pulled out to a 22-18 lead following a 5-1 rally which Brauneis capped with an ace. The Lady Flames countered with a 7-1 run ending with a McQuitery-Craycraft block to take set two, 25-23.
Liberty added four blocks in set two, but Georgetown hit .243, compared to .238 for the Lady Flames.
The Hoyas posted a 25-22 victory in the third set, ending Liberty's impressive streak of 28 consecutive sets won at home, dating back to Aug. 28, 2012. Georgetown went on an 8-2 run, gaining a 21-15 advantage. The Lady Flames drew to within two, 23-21, after a Melissa Racz kill, but Saar sealed the set with a kill and an ace.
Johnson scored seven kills in set three for the Hoyas, who outhit Liberty, .289 to .242, in the frame.
Liberty broke open a tight fourth set by staging an 8-2 rally, with Babcock scoring back-to-back kills for a 21-13 cushion. In total, the Lady Flames outscored Georgetown, 12-5, over the last 17 serves, with Rollins getting the match-clinching kill, 25-16.
The hosts hit .342 in the final set, totaling 18 kills to just nine for the Hoyas (.114). Happel contributed six kills during set four.
The Lady Flames will play their next 10 matches away from Lynchburg, beginning this weekend at the Kentucky Classic. Liberty will face VCU and East Tennessee State on Friday before meeting No. 21 Kentucky on Saturday.