Liberty served up a season-high 10 aces, rolling to a 3-0 sweep (25-10, 25-18, 25-17) of Hampton, Saturday at the Vines Center. By doing so, the Lady Flames claimed the championship at the 2015 Liberty Invitational presented by La Quinta Inns & Suites, with a 3-0 record.
Liberty posted its first tournament victory since claiming the 2014 Brown Invitational. It also marked the first Lady Flames championship at the Liberty Invitational since 2011. The Lady Flames have started out 3-0 for the first time since an 8-0 beginning to the 2008 campaign. Hampton, coming off of back-to-back MEAC titles, falls to 0-3 on the year.
The Lady Flames' 10 aces were their most since recording 10 aces on Sept. 15, 2012 at Virginia. Liberty also outhit the Lady Pirates, .322-.093, while leading, 6-4 in blocks and 44-32 in digs.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, senior Jade Vorster, senior Caroline Douglas and sophomore Anna Willey represented Liberty on the all-tournament team, with Vorster earning MVP honors. Hampton placed sophomore Tatyana Thomas on the squad.
Senior Haley Jeffcoat led the Lady Flames with eight kills, hitting .500, while redshirt freshman Sydney Morris hit .545 with seven kills to go with three blocks. Jade Vorster totaled six kills and three blocks. Junior Susan Babcock served up a career-high four aces. Willey dished out a match-high 30 assists, while freshman Margaret Latchford led all players with nine digs.
For Hampton, freshman Reeana Richardson scored a match-high nine kills in addition to two aces, while junior Brianna Lilly registered 22 assists.
The Lady Flames hit .441 during the opening set, scoring 17 kills with just two errors while storming to a 25-10 victory. Hampton hit .000, with five kills and five errors. Jade Vorster struck for five kills on six swings, while Jeffcoat went 4-0-5 and Morris hit 4-0-6.
Trailing, 2-1, in set two, Liberty staged a 9-0 rally, as Babcock nailed four aces during the run which put Liberty ahead, 10-2. The Lady Flames doubled the visitors' score, 20-10, following a Sirena Vorster kill. After Hampton pulled to within 23-17, a kill by sophomore Gabrielle Vess and a Lady Pirates error sealed the 25-18 victory for Liberty.
Liberty led the final frame, 15-13, before mounting a 7-1 run, capped by a Morris-Jade Vorster block which made the score 22-14. The Lady Flames clinched the match at 25-17 when Willey and Jade Vorster combined for a block.
Set three saw Liberty outhit Hampton, .233-.154, while the Lady Flames recorded three blocks and three aces.
The Lady Flames travel to Flagstaff, Ariz. for the first time since 2003, competing in the Lumberjack Invitational, hosted by Northern Arizona on Friday and Saturday. Liberty takes on Loyola Marymount on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern before facing Northern Arizona and Houston Baptist, Saturday.
2015 Liberty Invitational All-Tournament Team Jade Vorster, Liberty (Tournament MVP) Anna Willey, Liberty Caroline Douglas, Liberty Julia Westerbur, UNCG Katherine Santiago, UNCG Allison Butler, Fairleigh Dickinson Tatyana Thomas, Hampton