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Top-Seeded FGCU Advances to ASUN Final with 3-0 Sweep of No. 4 Seed Liberty

November 16, 2018  Kennesaw, Ga.  RSS
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Kainah Williams scored hit .364 and added two blocks against FGCU on Friday.

Kainah Williams scored hit .364 and added two blocks against FGCU on Friday.

No. 1 seed FGCU earned a 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-18) sweep over 4th-seeded Liberty in the first semifinal of the 2018 ASUN Volleyball Championship on Friday, held at Kennesaw State's Convocation Center.

With the win, FGCU (25-6) extends its winning streak to 14 matches and advances to the ASUN final for the third year in a row. The Eagles will face either No. 2 seed Kennesaw State or No. 3 seed Lipscomb in the final tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Lady Flames fall to 15-17 on the season with the loss.

Notable Numbers
• FGCU hit .163 for the match, compared to .097 for Liberty. The Eagles led in blocks (14-9), digs (46-43) and aces (6-2).

• Cortney VanLiew scored a match-high 16 kills and added six blocks for FGCU, while Daniele Serrano posted a match-high 10 blocks. Dana Axner collected a match-high 15 digs.

• Liberty's Anna Gragg and Victoria Baptista tied for the team high with eight kills, while Gragg recorded five blocks (two solo, three assisted). Hannah Morris dished out a match-high 22 assists, while Margaret Latchford collected 13 digs and Lilly Kruse recorded her first career double-digit dig match with 11 digs.

Match Summary
SET 1
• The Lady Flames led set one 16-13 before FGCU scored five straight points to go ahead 18-16. Liberty battled back into a tie at 24-24 after fighting off two set points. A service error gave FGCU a set-point try, which the Eagles converted with a block.

• During the first set, Liberty outhit FGCU .229-.121 and scored four more kills than the Eagles. However, the Lady Flames were hampered by six service errors.

SET 2
• Liberty built an early 11-8 set-two advantage following a Gragg kill. The Eagles reeled off nine straight points to take a 17-11 lead. Liberty rallied back to within three at 22-19 but got no closer as FGCU won 25-20.

• The Eagles outhit the Lady Flames during the second set, .222-.065. FGCU posted six team blocks, compared to four for Liberty. Snowy Burnam and Serrano recorded five set-two kills each.

SET 3
• Florida Gulf Coast raced out to a 19-10 lead in the final set. The Lady Flames battled back, using a 6-1 rally to trim the deficit to 20-16. The Eagles closed the sweep out, 25-18, finishing it out with a block.

• Similarly to set two, FGCU posted four blocks in set three, while also serving up four aces. VanLiew scored six set-three kills.

Quick Hits
• This is the third season in a row in which the Lady Flames have fallen in the conference semifinal round, having made the Big South semifinal in 2016 and 2017.

• Latchford, a senior, reached double figures in digs in all six conference tournament matches in which she appeared.

• Latchford finishes her career ranked second in program history with 1,784 career digs. She appeared in each of the last 443 sets, a streak that started during her freshman season.

• Gragg finished the season with an even 100 blocks and is now tied for 10th in program history with former teammate Sirena Vorster with 313 career blocks. Gragg is the first Liberty player in rally-scoring history to record 100 or more blocks in each of her first three seasons.