While the setting for yesterday's Liberty-Mount Hebron volleyball match was different than the last one, the result was the same.
The two last met in last year's Class 2A state title match. Last night, Mount Hebron showed plenty of power to win the final two games and score a 15-17, 15-12, 8-15, 15-13, 15-10 victory over host and No. 10 Liberty last night.
Mount Hebron (5-4) lost five starting seniors from last year's squad -- a 3-1 victor over the Lions for the title. That has caused problems for coach Jeannine McCrumb.
Some of those difficulties were evident last night. The Vikings came out flat in the first part of the match, and Liberty [10-2] won two of the first three games. Mount Hebron, however, looked like a different team in the last two games, never trailing and taking the match.
"We're struggling in our county," McCrumb said. "We tend to run in streaks, good and bad. It happens to us, I don't know why."
Liberty disappointed coach Helen Derwin with its play, especially tTC in the last two games when the Vikings controlled everything.
"We didn't use any offense," said Derwin. "When you play like that, it'll catch up with you."
The first game set the tone for the match. The momentum swung back and forth as neither Liberty nor Mount Hebron could take control, despite both running off streaks.
Liberty jumped to a 14-11 lead, but Mount Hebron, behind the strong serving of Dani Vissers, scored four in a row. Vissers then served for the game, but the Lions' Laura Veise's dink gave the serve back to Liberty.
Veise then served three points in a row, the final coming on an ace in front of the Vikings' bench, to seal the 17-15 victory.
Game two started out like a Liberty rout. Veise and Amy McCready served effectively, while their teammates played well at the net and their opponents made several errors. Liberty rolled to a 9-4 lead.
Vissers and Christine Bode helped the Vikings answer again. The two combined to serve for nine points as Mount Hebron reeled off 11 of the next 14 for a 15-12 victory.
Mount Hebron started unleashing its power in that second game. The Vikings made several kills and rather strong attempts at them, which forced the Lions to play defensively much of the time.
The third game also was close much of the way. Mount Hebron took a 7-6 lead, but Liberty scored five in a row, helped by two nice plays from Holly Hall, to take an 11-7 lead.