Liberty rallied after falling in set one, 25-23, snapping a four-match winless streak by downing Air Force, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18), Friday at Cadet East Gym.
With the win, Liberty (2-6) splits its first two matches at this weekend's Amy Svoboda Memorial Classic. Air Force's record evens at 4-4 on the season after dropping its home opener. These two teams will square off again tomorrow at noon.
Liberty outhit Air Force, .149-.079, for the match. For the second match in a row, Liberty posted 14 blocks. The Lady Flames led 4-3 in aces, while the Falcons held a 46-39 advantage in digs.
Liberty's Casey Goodwin scored 10 kills and tied a career high with six blocks. Kainah Williams posted a career-high eight blocks (three solo, five assisted), while Victoria Baptista collected a team-best 13 digs. Anna Willey dished out 23 assists, while Sirena Vorster served up two aces.
Denise Ssozi scored a match-high 20 kills for Air Force, while Abigail Miksch sent down 13 kills. Shanleigh Conlan dished out a match-high 38 assists to go with 14 assists, while Piper Heineck posted nine kills and six blocks. Alex King collected 14 digs.
Air Force burst out of the gates in set one, building a 17-11 lead following back-to-back Falcon blocks. The hosts appeared to be in command at 22-16. However, Liberty went on a 5-0 run, with Vorster's kill narrowing the gap to 22-21. Back-to-back Heineck kills made it 24-21. Liberty scored the next two points, but Heineck ended it, 25-23, with her sixth kill.
The opening set saw Air Force hit .132, compared to .026 for the Lady Flames. Heineck factored in on all three of the Falcons' set-one blocks.
The hosts took a 21-19 lead in set two after an ace by Conlan. Liberty then called timeout and proceeded to score the next five points. Back-to-back blocks gave Liberty set-point tries at 24-21. Air Force fought off two set points, but Goodwin's kill sealed the 25-23 win for the Lady Flames.
Liberty's six set-two blocks helped limit the Falcons to a -.077 hitting percentage in the second session. Williams had one solo block and four block assists in set two alone.
Liberty continued its strong defensive effort in set three, posting four blocks while holding Air Force to a .100 hitting percentage. The Lady Flames attacked at a .300 pace, getting four kills from Goodwin, while Ssozi led the Falcons with six kills. The guests led the set by as many as six points. Air Force drew to within 19-17, but Liberty pulled away to win, 25-19.
The guests removed all doubt in the fourth set, leading by nine points at 21-12 following a block by Anna Gragg and Payton Carter. Air Force attempted a comeback, but Liberty ended the match by winning set four, 25-18, on a clinching kill from Baptista.
The Lady Flames outhit the Falcons, .207-.114 in set four, despite Ssozi sending down eight fourth-set kills for Air Force.
Liberty closes out its participation at the Amy Svoboda Memorial Classic tomorrow, taking on Air Force at noon ET. This is the first time since 1999 that Liberty will face the same opponent on back-to-back days.