Junior Nzea McQuitery hit .800 with nine kills on Friday in Liberty's 3-0 win over San Jose State.
Liberty opened its 2014 season with a resounding, 3-0 (25-9, 25-21, 25-21) sweep over San Jose State to begin the Elon Phoenix Classic, Friday at Alumni Gym. With the victory, Liberty won its season opener for the first time since Aug. 28, 2009, when the Lady Flames swept UNCG at the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational. The Lady Flames outhit the Spartans, .308 to .067, with Liberty posting 44 kills to 26 for SJSU. Both teams had three aces and three blocks, while Liberty led in digs, 47-42. Liberty freshman Hannah Weidner scored a match-high 13 kills in her first collegiate contest. Sophomore Nzea McQuitery hit .800 with nine kills, while junior Allie Reynolds led Liberty with 12 digs. Junior Caila Stapleton dished out a career-high 33 assists, to go with five kills and six digs. Senior Gabrielle Shipe and junior Maribeth Kern totaled nine digs apiece, while junior Jade Vorster registered seven kills and a team-best three blocks. Junior Tyanna Roy sent down 10 kills to pace the Spartans, and freshman Sara Hibbs followed with six kills. Freshman Hana Tresnakova collected a match-high 13 digs, and junior Allison Meehan's 11 assists led San Jose State. The Lady Flames broke open a tight first set, outscoring the Spartans, 20-5, over the last 25 serves on the way to a 25-9 set-one victory. It marked Liberty's largest margin of victory since winning set three over Campbell, 25-9, on Nov. 9, 2013. Liberty hit .324 with 14 kills during the opening stanza, while San Jose State recorded five kills at a -.108 pace. Vorster sent down five kills, while Reynolds led all players with nine digs. During set two, Liberty went on a 5-0 run to build an 11-6 advantage. Douglas later gave the Lady Flames a 22-16 lead with a kill, and a SJSU attack error gave Liberty set point at 24-17. The Spartans fought off four set-point tries, before Weidner ended the set, 25-21, with her fifth kill of the stanza. The Lady Flames attacked at a .382 clip in the second set, compared to .143 for the Spartans. Weidner sent down five kills, while SJSU's Hibbs tallied four kills. The Spartans took the lead, 14-13, in set three when Jessica Oneto scored a service ace. The Lady Flames responded with a 7-2 run to regain the advantage at 20-16. Stapleton later recorded a pair of kills, for a 22-18 advantage. After back-to-back SJSU points, Liberty closed to the finish, as a Weidner kill sealed the set, 25-21, and secured the match sweep. Weidner and McQuitery both recorded four kills for the Lady Flames during the final set, while SJSU's Roy chipped in with four kills of her own. Action continues at the Elon Phoenix Classic tomorrow, as the Lady Flames take on Maryland of the Big 10 at 10 a.m. Liberty will close out the weekend with a 7 p.m. match, tomorrow against tournament host Elon.