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Lady Flames Down Hofstra, 3-1, for 1st Win of Season

August 26, 2017  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Anna Gragg scored 15 kills against Hofstra on Saturday.

Anna Gragg scored 15 kills against Hofstra on Saturday.

Liberty broke a 1-1 match tie, taking sets three and four to claim a 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 28-26, 25-20) victory over Hofstra, Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.

The Lady Flames (1-2) earned their first win of the season at this weekend's Cavalier Classic. Hofstra, who went 20-10 last season, begins 2017 with an 0-3 record.

For her efforts on the weekend, Gabrielle Vess was named to the Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team.

Liberty outhit the Pride, .239-.196, thanks in part to a season-high 14.5 blocks by the Lady Flames. Liberty's 14.5 blocks were its most since posting 16 blocks at Presbyterian, Oct. 15, 2016. Liberty led, 6-3 in aces and 61-55 in digs.

Anna Gragg hit .583 with 15 kills, adding four blocks. Vess recorded nine kills and 12 digs, while Victoria Baptista registered nine kills, 11 digs and four blocks. Anna Willey dished out 45 assists, while Kainah Williams posted six blocks. Margaret Latchford collected a match-high-tying 12 digs.

Emma Price led Virginia with a match-high 16 kills, while Michela Rucli (11 kills) and Laura Masciullo (10 kills) both reached double-figures in kills. Luisa Sydlik totaled a match-high 48 assists, while Nanishka Perez collected 11 digs.

During set one, the teams played to a 17-17 through 34 serves. Liberty took over from then on, as Vess sent down two kills during a three-point Liberty rally. After a Hofstra rally point, Liberty posted two big blocks to pull away for the 25-19 victory. In total, the Lady Flames outscored the Pride, 8-2, over the final 10 serves.

Liberty attacked at a .391 clip in the opening set, compared to .267 for the Pride.

The Lady Flames took an 18-17 lead in set three when Vess scored a kill. Sydlik then sparked a go-ahead 4-0 rally with a kill. Later on, Gragg narrowed the gap to 22-21 with a kill. After a Hofstra timeout, the teams traded the next four points. Price cashed in on Hofstra's set-point try, sending down the set winner for a 25-23 victory.

Hofstra appeared to be in control of the third set after staging a 4-0 rally to take the lead at 23-20 on a kill by Rucli. Liberty went on a four-point run of its own, leading 24-23 after back-to-back Vorster kills. The serve went back and forth until Ortiz's attack went out of bounds, giving Liberty the 28-26 win.

The Lady Flames outhit the Pride, .293-.212, in set three.

Liberty raced out to a 13-7 lead in set four. Hofstra rallied, drawing to within 19-18 on a Lady Flames error. Four straight blocks by the Lady Flames ensued, extending their advantage to 23-18. The teams sided out from that point on, and Kainah Williams' kill sealed the 25-20 victory.

During the final session, Liberty outhit Hofstra, .182-.088, getting 6.5 blocks. Victoria Baptista scored five kills, while Williams posted five blocks.

Liberty opens its home schedule next weekend, hosting the Liberty Invitational, Friday and Saturday at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames open the weekend on Friday at 7 p.m. against Maryland, the first visit by a Big Ten volleyball team to the Vines Center.