Liberty Women’s volleyball team defeats the Virginia Tech Hokies in game two of the Liberty Invitational
Liberty’s women’s volleyball team needed a spark. They split the first two sets with the Virginia Tech Hokies, trailing 5-4 as they began losing momentum early in the third set.
In the middle of the ensuing volley, junior libero Macy Phillips fully extended her arm while running backwards and out of bounds to keep the ball alive to help tie the set at five. Liberty went on to win that set 25-12 and the next set 25-22 to claim the match. Phillip’s play epitomized the Flames scrappy victory over the Hokies in the Vines Center on Saturday in game two of the Liberty Invitational.
Liberty Head Coach Trevor Johnson highlighted the Flames willingness to hard work and determination as the reason for their victory.
“It was a scrappy play kind of night,” Johnson said. “Our girls want to protect this house all year long, and we are on track to do that.”
Junior outside hitter Amelia Johnson dominated for the Flames with impressive all-around play. According to Liberty’s website, Johnson had a career-high 19 kills in the match, in addition to 14 digs and three aces, fittingly winning the match-winning kill to close out an intense fourth set.
Coach Johnson said that this game was a sign of continuing maturity for Amelia Johnson and gave her high praise.
“I’ve been really excited about her level of consistency,” Coach Johnson said. “She has really been trying to be a leader on the court. … She really impressed me with her play.”
Senior middle blocker Anna Gragg was also ecstatic about Johnson’s play.
“It’s awesome to see Amelia in her element after seeing how hard she works in practice and seeing how that transfers over to her game,” Gragg said. “For her to have an awesome night – I was super hyped for her.”
Gragg turned in an impressive night as well, recording 12 kills with a team-high .400 hitting percentage.
Gragg said that her teammates’ enthusiastic play kept her spirits alive during the match.
“It’s easy to get hyped when your teammates are working so hard for you and everyone is working hard for each other,” Gragg said. “That energy comes from knowing that they all want to win.”
Gragg and Amelia Johnson spearheaded an impressive front row for the Flames, with senior Casey Goodwin and sophomore Kailey Macy further punctuating the attack with 10 and eight kills respectively. Senior setter Hannah Morris recorded a season-high 45 assists and 13 digs, according to Liberty’s website.
Liberty’s back row took away the strength of Virginia Tech’s serving, only getting aced once the entire match. By contrast, Liberty served 11 aces, with Phillips accounting for two of them.
Coach Johnson wants the back row’s strong performance to carry over to their match against the Elon University Phoenix on Sunday.
“We need to continue to serve strong and pass well,” Johnson said. “When you (pass well and) have someone like Gragg and Kailey in the middle … it makes it really hard for defenses to stop them.”
Liberty improved to 3-2 on the season after beating Elon University three sets to none to close out the action at the Liberty Invitational on Sunday. Their season will continue on Tuesday, Sep. 10, against the University of Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Virginia.