The Liberty volleyball team extended its winning streak to four matches with a four-set (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 25-23) win over the visiting Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks in non-conference action on Tuesday at the Vines Center. With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 11-13 on the season, and have finished non-conference play for the regular season. The Hawks fall to 6-14 with the loss.
Notable Numbers • Maryland Eastern Shore outhit Liberty for the match, .230-.209, while the Hawks also led in aces (8-6). The Lady Flames held advantages in kills (54-52) and blocks (9.5-6.0), while both teams collected 57 digs.
• Liberty's Jenna Culhan and Kainah Williams tied for the team lead with 13 kills each. Williams hit .458 and added a match-high six blocks. Victoria Baptista scored nine kills and collected a match-high 16 digs. Hannah Morris dished out a team-high 26 assists, while Lilly Kruse served up three aces and Margaret Latchford collected 11 digs.
• The Hawks countered with the one-two punch of Rachel Kayongo (21 kills, four aces) and Lucia Babic (15 kills, 11 digs). Ivana Blazevic dished out a match-high 42 assists, while Koya Sowells collected a team-best 14 digs.
Match Summary SET 1 • Liberty jumped out to a quick 12-5 lead in the first set and still led by four, 21-17, before Kayongo scored two kills and added an ace during a 6-3 run that brought the visitors to within one at 24-23. However, Baptsita sent down a kill to clinch the set, 25-23.
• Maryland Eastern Shore hit .257 during set one, compared to .243 for Liberty. Culhan's six set-one kills led all players.
SET 2 • Liberty faced a 10-8 deficit in set two, before going on a 7-0 run that featured three aces from Kruse. The Lady Flames led from that point on, taking the set 25-20.
• Liberty hit .158 during the second session, while the visitors attacked at a .133 pace. Amelia Johnson scored five kills in set two.
SET 3 • The Hawks responded coming out of the locker room, pulling away late for a 25-19 set-three victory.
• Set three saw Maryland Eastern Shore outhit Liberty, .343-.194, with Kayongo scoring seven kills for the Hawks.
SET 4 • Liberty broke a 22-22 tie in set four, getting a kill from Anna Gragg and a Casey Goodwin service ace to earn match-point tries. After a Blazevic block, Culhan's kill ended the match.
Quick Hits • Liberty has tied a season high with four straight wins overall, having also won its first four ASUN matches in a row, Sept. 21-30.
• The Lady Flames have won 14 straight meetings against MEAC opponents, and are 26-1 all-time versus MEAC teams.
• Aspen Thompson made her first career start, becoming the second true freshman (Lilly Kruse vs. Jacksonville) to start a match for Liberty this season.
• It had been 31 years since the last meeting between Liberty and Maryland Eastern Shore in volleyball, as Liberty defeated the Hawks during the 1987 season. That is the longest span between meetings with any opponent that Liberty has faced two or more times in volleyball.
• Liberty's Baptista and Maryland Eastern Shore's Sowells led their respective teams in digs tonight. Baptista and Sowells played together at Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas.
Up Next The Lady Flames finish up their program-record-long nine-match homestand this weekend, wrapping up their home schedule against NJIT on Friday (6 p.m.) and North Alabama on Sunday (1 p.m.). Liberty will honor its two seniors – Baptista and Latchford, with a ceremony prior to Sunday's match against UNA.
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