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Lady Flames Earn Thrilling 5-Set Win Over La Salle in NIVC 1st Round

December 7, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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The Lady Flames celebrate the final point of their 21-19 set-five win over La Salle.

The Lady Flames celebrate the final point of their 21-19 set-five win over La Salle.

The Liberty volleyball team picked up its first-ever postseason victory, edging the visiting La Salle Explorers in five sets (25-21, 26-24, 21-25, 23-25, 21-19), Saturday at the Vines Center.

With the win, Liberty (20-11) advances to tomorrow's 3 p.m. NIVC second round match against High Point (21-12). La Salle's season ends at 15-14. The Lady Flames have earned their 22nd 20-win season in program history and first since going 23-10 in 2014.

The winner of tomorrow's match between Liberty and High Point will face Georgia Tech in the NIVC quarterfinals next week.

Notable Numbers
• For the match, Liberty outhit La Salle, .181-.150, while the Explorers led in aces (9-8), blocks (13-12) and digs (79-77). It was Liberty's 16th 10-block match of the season and fifth in a row.

• Liberty's Anna Gragg scored 19 kills at a .382 pace, sending down her 1,000th career kill in the second set. Amelia Johnson recorded 13 kills and 12 digs, while Hannah Morris totaled 33 assists, 14 digs and six blocks. Macy Phillips collected a match-high 24 digs and served up a match-high four aces. Rajini Fitzmaurice recorded eight kills, two aces and 13 digs.

• For La Salle, Samantha Graver scored a match-high 22 kills to go along with 17 digs. Kathryn Wood dished out 50 assists, while Elizabeth Osborn totaled 18 kills, four aces, 12 digs and five blocks. Catherine Edgington registered 14 kills and six blocks.  

Head Coach Trevor Johnson
"All glory to God. Championship season is all about surviving and advancing. That's exactly what we did. It wasn't our best all around game, but we will take it. Anna played awesome for us! Time to get one degree better tomorrow."

Match Summary

• Liberty's service game kept La Salle off balance in the first set, as Macy Phillips served up three or the Lady Flames' four aces in a 25-21 win.

• Graver scored six set-one kills, while Gragg sent down five kills for the Lady Flames.

• Despite holding the Explorers to a .025 hitting percentage in the second set, Liberty found itself in a dogfight. La Salle fought off two set-point tries to tie it at 24-all before Kailey Macy scored a kill and combined with Morris for the set-clinching block.

• La Salle stayed alive in the match, using a late 9-5 surge to pull out the 25-21 win. During set three, Graver scored seven kills for the Explorers.   

• Liberty battled back from a 19-13 deficit in set four, narrowing the gap to 24-23 before a La Salle block sent it to a decisive fifth set.

• Set five saw 17 ties and four lead changes. Liberty earned its first match point chance at 14-13, after which point the teams sided out all the way to 20-19. The Lady Flames cashed in on their seventh match-point try, as Aspen Thompson's tip found the floor for the winning point.    

Quick Hits
• Liberty is now 5-0 all-time against La Salle in volleyball.   

• Gragg is the 17th player in program history, and second this season (also Casey Goodwin) to reach 1,000 career kills. Liberty is one of 22 NCAA Division I teams with two active 1,000-kill players.

• Gragg is now in sole possession of fourth place in program history with 425 career blocks.     

• With 525 digs, Phillips is ranked fourth in program history for single-season digs in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).

• Phillips' 40 aces this season are tied with Goodwin's 40 aces from last year for the fourth most in a single season by a Lady Flame under the current 25-point rally-scoring system (since 2008).

• Liberty has set a program rally-scoring team record with 300.5 blocks this season, passing the previous record of 297, set in 2007.     

• Liberty is 5-1 in five-set matches this season, 19-11 in sets decided by two points and 10-5 in extended sets.     

• Tonight's match marked the latest in the calendar year that the Lady Flames have played a match.