Close Call: Top-Seeded Liberty Edges No. 8 Seed Stetson 3-2 in ASUN Quarters
No. 1 seed Liberty fought off a total of three match points in tonight’s ASUN Volleyball Championship quarterfinal against eight-seeded Stetson, edging the Hatters in five entertaining sets of volleyball, Thursday at Allen Arena.
With the win, its 11th in a row, Liberty advances to tomorrow’s second semifinal, scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern time. The Lady Flames will take on the winner of tonight’s last quarterfinal, between No. 4 seed Lipscomb and No. 5 seed Central Arkansas. Stetson sees its season end at 16-14.
• Stetson won a challenge at the very end of set three, taking a 2-1 match lead by winning 25-23 after an initial out call was overturned following review.
• The Hatters had two chances to close out the match in the fourth set, leading 24-23 and again at 25-24. However, Kate Phillips scored the tying kill on both occasions, and Trinity Watts’ ace sent the match to a fifth set.
• With Stetson leading set five, 14-13, Hatter outside hitter Elena Dokovic’s attack sailed just wide. Stetson challenged the call, which was upheld, keeping the score tied at 14-14. Karmyn Bacus sealed the match with back-to-back kills to send Liberty into the semifinals, 16-14.
• Liberty outhit Stetson .204-.200 for the match, while holding leads in kills (67-65) and aces (6-3). Both teams totaled 77 digs, while Stetson posted 12 blocks compared to 10 for Liberty.
• Liberty middle blockers Lydia Burts (.438, two aces, five blocks) and Madison Blane (.344, five blocks) tied for the team lead with 15 kills each. Erica Lowery collected a match-high and career-high 27 digs, while Delaney Dilfer tied her career high with 58 assists to go along with 17 digs. Kamryn Bacus totaled 14 kills and 11 digs, while Kate Phillips (11 kills, 10 digs) also registered a double-double and Julia Mangum posted a season-high 10 kills and a career-high six blocks.
• Djokovic (19 kills, 13 digs), Anabelle Standish (17 kills, 16 digs) and Nyah Molina (54 assists, 14 digs) all fashioned double-doubles, while Leilani Vitale totaled 11 kills and Lauren Vargo collected 17 digs.
• Liberty is now 7-3 all-time against Stetson in volleyball, including 2-0 this season and 2-0 in ASUN Tournament play. The Lady Flames opened the 2018 ASUN Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 sweep over Stetson.
• Liberty is making its third appearance in an ASUN semifinal and first since 2019.
• Dilfer’s 16 double-doubles this year are the most by a Lady Flame since Karyl Bacon posted 16 double-doubles in 2010.
• Liberty’s current 11-match winning streak is its longest under current Head Coach Trevor Johnson and longest since winning 13 in a row, Sept. 20 through Oct. 25, 2014.
• Liberty put five players in double figures in kills tonight, the first time since Sept. 8, 2018 against Colgate that the Lady Flames have had five 10-kill players in the same match.
• Blane posted a new career high with 15 kills, while Mangum posted her first 10-kill match of the season.
• Lowery’s 27 digs tonight were the most by a Lady Flame since Margaret Latchford collected 28 digs at Gardner-Webb, Nov. 11, 2017.
• Tonight was the first time Liberty lost the first set in a match since Oct. 8 at Eastern Kentucky. The Lady Flames are 2-3 when losing the first set this season, with the other win coming on Sept. 2 against Winthrop.
• Liberty is now 4-4 in five-set matches this season.
• Prior to tonight, the last time Liberty won a five-set match in conference tournament play was Nov. 19, 2010, when the Lady Flames rallied to beat Winthrop 3-2 in the Big South semifinal.
Liberty awaits its ASUN Volleyball Championship quarterfinal opponent, as No. 4 seed Lipscomb and No. 5 seed Central Arkansas are currently playing today’s last quarterfinal.