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Lady Flames Hold Off Highlanders, 3-1

September 30, 2018  Newark, N.J.  RSS
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Jenna Culhan scored 11 kills for Liberty on Sunday.

Jenna Culhan scored 11 kills for Liberty on Sunday.

Liberty scored a 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14) victory at NJIT on Sunday, remaining unbeaten in ASUN play.

Liberty (7-10, 4-0 ASUN) is now in a four-way tie atop the ASUN standings with FGCU, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, while the Highlanders (2-16) are winless in league play at 0-4.

Head Coach Trevor Johnson
"I'm really excited about our depth. Kailey Macy came in and got nine kills, hitting .500. It is great when a middle can give us that kind of production. I really appreciate Anna Gragg's leadership. In addition to her stats, she was emotionally invested, throughout. I thought Casey Goodwin got off to a slow start but finished strong with 15 kills. I felt like we took our foot off the gas in the second set. Coming out of the locker room, we served tough and got back to being more aggressive. Now we get to go back and prepare for a very good Lipscomb team."

Notable Numbers
• Liberty outhit NJIT for the match, .284-.137. The Lady Flames also led in blocks (13-4), aces (7-5) and digs (57-56).

• Casey Goodwin sent down a match-high 15 kills and added three aces, eight digs and four blocks. Hannah Morris dished out a match-best 52 assists to go along with six kills, eight digs and four blocks.

• Jenna Culhan scored 11 kills, while Anna Gragg chipped in with 10 kills (.471). Margaret Latchford collected 17 digs, while Kailey Macy hit .500 with nine kills and added six blocks.

• Madi Busler led NJIT with 13 kills, while Adrianna Nieto collected a match-high 21 digs.

Match Summary
• Liberty got off to a great start, staging a six-point run to take an 8-3 lead, punctuated by three straight aces from Goodwin. NJIT scored the next four points to get within 8-7 but got no closer as Liberty won 25-21.

• Goodwin led all players with five kills and three aces in set one, as the Lady Flames outhit the Highlanders, .282-.182.

• The Lady Flames led set two 18-16 after a Culhan kill. The Highlanders responded by outscoring Liberty 9-3 from that point on, tying the set with a 25-21 victory.

• NJIT hit .341 during the second set, compared to .209 for Liberty. Busler scored six set-two kills while Nwosu followed with five kills.

• Set three was tightly contested throughout, with 12 ties and two lead changes. With the score tied at 20-20, Kailey Macy scored back-to-back kills, spurring a four-point Liberty run. After a Highlanders sideout, Culhan ended the set with a kill.

• Liberty outhit the Highlanders, .321-.036, during set three. Macy scored a set-best four kills and added two block assists.

• The Lady Flames closed out the match with a dominant fourth set, hitting .355 on the way for a 25-14 victory. Liberty also posted four blocks, holding NJIT to a -.182 hitting percentage.

Quick Hits
• The last time Liberty won four straight away matches was Oct. 14-22, 2016, when the Lady Flames won at Presbyterian (3-2), Charleston Southern (3-2), Winthrop (3-1) and Gardner-Webb (3-2).

• Liberty is off to its best start to conference play since opening the 2015 Big South slate at 4-0.

• Morris' 52 assists are the most by a Lady Flame in a four-set match since Anna Willey dished out 63 assists in a 3-1 win at Gardner-Webb, Nov. 14, 2015.

• During Sunday's match, Latchford passed Lara Bartolomeo (2004-07) into sixth place in program history with 1,573 career digs.

• Liberty has posted double-digit blocks in each of the last three matches, giving the team seven matches with 10 or more blocks this season.

Up Next
Liberty returns home, where the Lady Flames will play nine straight matches at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames host Lipscomb on Friday at 6 p.m. before taking on defending ASUN champion Kennesaw State at 1 p.m. on Sunday.