Women’s volleyball claims two gritty victories over CUSA opponent Louisiana Tech in straight sets

The Liberty Flames women’s volleyball team swept the Louisiana Tech Nov. 2-3, winning in straight sets on both days against a CUSA rival. 

“(It was a) good two wins for us,” Liberty Head Coach Trevor Johnson said after Friday’s win. “(I) was proud to see their resiliency and response after that not so great first set.”

The two-game series versus Louisiana Tech started on Thursday, which doubles as Senior Night for the Lady Flames. Zoi Sherolli, Julia Mangum, Amanda Patterson and Delaney Dilfer were all recognized in a pregame ceremony. 

“Those four embody what it means to be a Liberty volleyball player … (I’m) just really proud of our seniors and how we played for them last night,” Johnson said.

The Lady Flames echoed Johnson’s sentiment. 

 “(The seniors) mean so much to me, (I’m) lucky enough to call them teammates and not only just teammates, but we’re so close outside of the court…” Flames junior Madison Blane said. “Just the love we have for each other is unlike anything else.” 

Following Thursday’s pregame ceremonies, the Lady Flames came out strong in the first set against the Bulldogs, dominating and winning with a score of 25-6. The next two sets would bring more of the same from the Lady Flames, taking the second 25-16 and the third 25-17. Flames’ Junior Kate Phillips was a strong contributor to the Flames performance on the night, notching 16 kills for the Flames to go along with 15 digs. 

 As Friday’s game began, Louisiana Tech stared down an opportunity to get up early in the first set. Liberty fell behind 19-9, but rapidly made adjustments and went on a run to tie the score at 20. After the remarkable comeback, the team battled to come away with the 25-23 advantage. 

“From what I saw, I feel like we started to improve our passing,” Blane explained. “I think we were down, and they started putting a double block up on our outside because our pass wasn’t really on so we couldn’t run the middle or spread out the offense.”

“I’m proud of how they stayed together no matter what, weathered the storm, and came out with the victory,” Johnson said. “Sometimes it is gritty over pretty, so we were the grittier team and we wanted it more than they did and that was the factor.”

After a thrilling first set, the Lady Flames carried the energy over into the remainder of the game. Liberty took both the second set and the third set by scores of 25-14 each.  

“We’re happy with the win, but we know we can play better,” Johnson said. “We have a bunch of girls that love
playing together, that love playing with each other and we’re still trying to find a way to get better.” 

The Lady Flames will wrap up the regular season with a trip to play UTEP in El Paso, Texas Nov. 10-11. The match against UTEP will be the team’s last before the ever-important CUSA tournament November 17-19, in Liberty Arena.

“It’s November, and you win championships in November, so everything we are doing now is focused on that,” Johnson said. “Winning the next point is the most important thing, and we are just trying to keep that as a perspective.” 

Almy is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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