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Lightning falls to Saints in MVC debut

CR Xavier 3, Liberty High 1
Addie Schmeier (left), Hailey Hested and Lauren Roman watch as Sydney Woods digs Tuesday, August 21, at home against the Saints of Cedar Rapids Xavier Catholic. The Lightning fell 3-1 to Xavier after winning the first set 25-18. The match was Liberty’s official Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) debut after being unaffiliated with any athletic conference last year. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– Liberty High’s Mississippi Valley Conference varsity volleyball debut opened on a high note as the Lightning took the first set 25-18 over Cedar Rapids Xavier Tuesday, August 21, at home. The Saints, third in Class 4A in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s preseason rankings, rolled over Liberty 25-7 in the second set and won the third set 25-17 before finishing the night 25-23 for the 3-1 win.
The Bolts took an early lead in the first set, with Hailey Hested scoring Liberty’s first point, before the Saints rallied back to a 13-13 tie. Liberty was down 7-0 in the second set before scoring on a Xavier serving error, and was unable to close the gap. Liberty trailed 17-8 in the third set prompting Coach Randy Dolson to call a time out to refocus his squad. Piper Koski had an ace serve, making it 24-16, but the Saints prevailed. LeeAnn Potter scored with a kill in the fourth set, making it a 4-3 game in favor of Xavier. Liberty tied at 5-5, leading to a Saints’ time out. The Bolts led 12-9 and built up to a 16-11 lead. Olivia Slattery’s kill made it 17-12 in favor of the Bolts, while another Potter kill gave them a 19-14 advantage. Xavier rallied back to a 19-19 tie, which was broken by another Slattery kill. Hopes for a match-tying win, forcing a fifth game, were dashed as the Saints broke a 22-22-tie enroute to the win.
Individual stats were not available due to a malfunction with Liberty’s electronic scorebook.
The Bolts travel to Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Tuesday, Sept. 4 (7 p.m. varsity start), and are in Iowa City West High’s annual tournament on Saturday, Sept. 8 (9 a.m. start). Dubuque Wahlert visits the Lightning on Tuesday, Sept. 11 (7 p.m. start), ahead of a Tuesday, Sept. 18, trip to Linn-Mar.