Preseason ASUN favorite FGCU escaped the Vines Center on Friday with a narrow 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 15-5) win over the host Liberty Lady Flames.
FGCU (14-6, 7-1) will enter the second half of its ASUN schedule in at least a tie for second place in the conference standings. Liberty's record stands at 7-13, 4-3 in conference play, and the Lady Flames are tied for fourth in the ASUN with their Sunday opponent, Stetson.
Notable Numbers • For the match, the Eagles outhit the Lady Flames, .293-.247 as both teams scored 64 kills and collected 55 digs. FGCU led in blocks (13-10) and aces (7-4). Liberty was the first ASUN team to hit higher than .167 against the Eagles so far this season.
• Cortney VanLiew sent down a match-high 22 kills for the Eagles, while Maggie Rick dished out a match-high 45 assists and added 10 digs. Snowy Burnam scored 12 kills, while Sharonda Pickering totaled 10 kills (.562) and eight blocks. FGCU's Dana Axner led all players with 18 digs.
• Casey Goodwin registered 19 kills, one of four Lady Flames to reach double figures. Kainah Williams scored a career-high 14 kills at a .619 pace, while Amelia Johnson had 12 kills and Anna Gragg posted 10 kills and five blocks. Hannah Morris dished out a team-best 30 assists, while Victoria Baptista led the Lady Flames with 11 digs in her first ASUN match of the season.
Match Summary SET 1 • Liberty led set one 20-17 before a string of kills from Baptista, Williams and Goodwin made it 23-17. The Eagles fought back to within 24-23 following a 6-1 run, but Goodwin clinched the set with a kill.
• The Lady Flames outhit FGCU, .361-.243, in set one, getting seven kills from Goodwin.
SET 2 • FGCU responded by taking a 9-1 lead after 10 serves of the second set. Liberty chipped away, getting as close as 14-13, but the Eagles pulled away for a 25-20 win.
• Set two saw the visitors hit .222, posting five blocks to help hold the Lady Flames to a -.026 hitting percentage. Goodwin scored six set-two kills.
SET 3 • Set three played to a 15-15 tie midway through, before three VanLiew kills sparked a 5-2 FGCU run. Trailing 24-20, Liberty fought off two set points before Burnam's kill ended it.
• Liberty hit .389 in set three, compared to .366 for FGCU. VanLiew scored 11 kills in the third set alone.
SET 4 • Liberty forced a decisive fifth set by hitting .500 and outscoring the guests 25-17 in the fourth session. Johnson sent down a set-best six kills for the Lady Flames.
SET 5 • The Eagles took control of set five from the beginning, registering three blocks during a 6-0 start. FGCU pulled away, winning the final set by a 15-5 score. The guests hit .583 during set five, while Liberty hit -.231.
Quick Hits • Goodwin has reached double figures in kills in six out of Liberty's first seven ASUN matches this season and now leads the team with eight double-digit kill matches on the season.
• Williams' .619 hitting percentage is the second best by a Lady Flame in a single match this season, trailing only Goodwin's .684 at Jacksonville, Sept. 22.
• Liberty has now posted double-digit block totals in five out of seven conference matches, and nine matches overall this season.
• Morris recorded her 1,000th career assist tonight, while Goodwin passed the 700-career kill mark.
Up Next Liberty will take on Stetson Sunday at noon to complete this weekend's ASUN action at the Vines Center.
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