Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Hannah Chase rises up to block a Lindsay Cardinals attack during a three-set Div. IV first round victory Thursday.
The Liberty Hawks girls volleyball team showed why it’s one of the top teams in the Div. IV Central Section playoffs with a dominating three-set victory over No. 15 Lindsay.
The Hawks outscored the Cardinals 50-20 in the first two sets and then held off Lindsay 25-20 in the third set for the victory. Liberty advanced to the quarterfinals and faced No. 7 seed Porterville on Tuesday. The winner will play the winner of Taft and Dos Palos on Thursday in the semifinals.
“We tried to explain to them to stay excited every single point,” head coach Brandon St. Lucia said. “Those first two sets were pretty dominating. We took care of the ball. When you take care of the ball, you take care of the game. The third set, we didn’t take care of the ball and the score was a lot different.”
Hannah Chase led the hitting barrage with 16 kills, four more than the rest of her team. Setter Madison Devine was next on the team with four kills.
Despite not as many kills, the Hawks helped themselves behind the service line. Liberty served up 14 aces, including six from Zoey Richey and three from Paiten Harlow.
In the first set, Karsyn Woods started a six-point scoring run with a side out kill. In the run, Richey served up three aces and Chase had two kills to open an 8-2 lead.
A side out set kill from Devine and a Chase kill opened the lead to seven.
Chase put down back-to-back kills, Devine added another while Harlow served up five straight points for a 16-5 lead.
After a Liberty service error, Chase put down her sixth kill of the set and followed with an ace. Devine added her third kill of the set for a 19-6 lead.
A third Liberty service error gave the Cardinals their seventh point. Lindsay served up an ace before Sadie Vasquez recorded a solo block for a side out.
Chase added another kill to open a 21-8 lead. Richey put down a side out kill and the Hawks added another point after a Cardinals’ service error.
Richey put down a kill to get to set point. After a side out, Woods put down a kill for a 25-11 victory.
Lindsay scored the first two points of the second set, but the Hawks scored 14 of the next 16 points to take control.
Richey served two more aces and Chase put down a kill for a 4-2 lead. A chase kill led to a nine-point run for a 14-4 lead.
In the run, Harlow served up three aces, Chase put down three kills and Vasquez added another.
The Cardinals added three more points before Paige Peterson gave the Hawks the side out with a kill on a bump that went just over the net and found the court on the Lindsay side of the net.
Chase recorded a back row kill and an ace in a five-point run. Vasquez added another block for a 19-7 lead. After a trade in side outs, Devine gave the Hawks the serve with a kill.
Audrina Vasquez put down a kill and Devine served up two aces to get to set point. Lindsay was called for a double contact and the Hawks recorded a 25-9 win.
The Cardinals didn’t go down easily. A three-point run, led by a Woods ace and a Chase kill gave the Hawks a 6-4 lead.
Lindsay eventually tied the set at eight before the Hawks got another three point run behind Peterson serving and a Woods solo block.
The Cardinals cut the lead down to one. Chase put down back-to-back kills to get the lead back to four. Liberty added to its lead with two Woods aces for a 20-13 lead.
The Cardinals scored four straight points to cut Liberty’s lead down to three before a Sadie Vasquez and Chase dual block.
After five straight side outs, Liberty led 23-20. Richey put down a side out kill to get to match point. She also put down the final kill of the set for a 25-20 victory.
“In set three, we lost that excitement and fire,” St. Lucia said. “We made too many errors and let them stay in the game.”