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Caught by surprise, Liberty recovers in time


If ever there was a lesson on overlooking an opponent, the Liberty volleyball team got a quick review last night.

The 12th-ranked and host Lions rallied from a 2-games-to-1 deficit to outlast winless Frederick, 13-15, 15-11, 5-15, 15-10, 15-11, in Eldersburg.

Senior outside hitter Lauryn Smith led the way for Liberty with a match-high 17 kills and six blocks, and sophomore setter Laura Shand added 37 assists, but the 0-4 Cadets forced their Central Maryland Conference rival to earn the 2-hour, 10-minute victory.

"I think we underestimated them," Smith said. "They're a lot younger than before, but it was a bad mistake."

Before last night, Frederick had been 0-2 against Carroll County rivals. Both North Carroll and Westminster won 3-games-to-1 matches against the Cadets.

Lions coach Dave Trumbo, who saw his team improve to 3-1 in the conference and overall, noted that in his four years of coaching, Frederick had never even captured a game, much less a match.

"I took the responsibility for that because I didn't get them fired up for this match," Trumbo said. "For the whole game, we were fighting an uphill battle."

Liberty appeared to be in control early in grabbing an 11-5 lead. But they uncharacteristically squandered their advantage and won only two more points as the Cadets came back to win the first game.

In the second game, Liberty endured deficits of 6-1 and 10-6 before enjoying a 9-1 run to take the second game.

The third game belonged to Frederick as it never looked back from a 7-0 lead and cruised to a 15-5 win.

The Cadets seemed to be close to sealing the upset when they took a 9-5 advantage. But Smith registered three slams and two blocks to spark the Lions to win 10 of the next 11 points.

In the deciding game, Liberty had a 5-0 lead before Frederick recovered to make it a 9-8 game. But the Cadets committed five unforced errors to give the game and match to the Lions.

Senior middle hitter Ashley Bush powered Frederick with 16 kills and six blocks, and junior setter and outside hitter Chelsea Reedy contributed 20 assists and nine slams.

Cadets coach Brendan Hedges said he assumed that Liberty would underestimate his squad's chances.

"We caught them by surprise because we're 0-4," Hedges said. "We're the St. Louis Rams of our volleyball league. No one knows our players, but the more touches we get, the better we will play."

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