Liberty won an extended first set on Tuesday against Virginia, sparking the Lady Flames to a 3-0 sweep (27-25, 25-22, 25-21) in their home opener at the Vines Center.
Liberty (3-7) snaps a four-match losing streak and improves to 22-8 in home openers since 1989. Virginia (4-6) had won four out of its last five matches entering tonight.
Notable Numbers • For the match, Liberty held a .284-.200 advantage on the attack, while also leading in aces (5-4). Virginia led in kills (45-38), but also registered 23 attack errors compared to 11 for Liberty.
• Jenna Culhan led Liberty with 10 kills, while Victoria Baptista followed with seven kills. Hannah Morris dished out 21 assists, while Margaret Latchford collected a match-high 12 digs.
• Virginia's Sarah Billiard led all players with 12 kills, while Jelena Novakovic chipped in 10 kills. Megan Wilson dished out a match-high 25 assists.
Match Summary SET 1 • Set one saw 16 ties and seven lead changes. Liberty fought off Virginia's set-point opportunity at 24-23 when Amelia Johnson sent down a kill. After a Cavaliers block, Johnson tied the score at 25-all with a kill. Payton Carter then entered the match to serve the final two points, as her ace sealed the 27-25 Liberty win.
• Both teams struggled on the attack during set one, with Virginia outhitting Liberty, .130-.111. Billiard and Novakovic both scored five first-set kills for Virginia.
SET 2 • During the second set, both teams found their stride offensively, as Liberty hit .357 and Virginia attacked at a .265 clip. Virginia won the race to 20 at 20-18, but the Lady Flames outscored the Cavaliers down the stretch, 7-2, to earn the 25-22 win and 2-0 match lead.
• Billiard sent down six kills for the visitors in set two, while Johnson scored four kills for Liberty, including two key winners late in the set.
SET 3 • Liberty raced out to a 19-11 lead in the final set and held a 24-18 advantage before the Cavaliers scored three straight points to narrow the gap to 24-21. Casey Goodwin then smashed a kill to clinch the sweep.
• During the third set, Liberty outhit Virginia, .419-.233. Goodwin (5-0-5) and Culhan (5-0-9) both scored five kills.
Quick Hits • Liberty has won each of its last two home meetings with Virginia, with the most recent being a 3-2 win on Sept. 23, 2014.
• Tonight marked Liberty's third sweep over Virginia in program history, with the other two coming during the 1979 season.
• Prior to tonight, Liberty's last sweep over an ACC opponent was Aug. 29, 2008, when the Lady Flames swept N.C. State in a match hosted by VCU.
Up Next Due to the projected path of Hurricane Florence, Liberty's weekend schedule has changed. The Lady Flames will no longer compete at the SMU Invitational, but will compete at the Pitt Invite in Pittsburgh, Pa., instead. While in Pittsburgh, Liberty will face College of Charleston at noon on Friday and at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Lady Flames will take on former Big South rival High Point on Saturday at 10 a.m.
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