LIBERTY - Off to a 5-1 start, the Liberty High girls volleyball team has a three-prong plan of attack entering each match.
"Start strong," Mackenzie Stanley said.
"Always put it down before they kill it," Leah Leshnack added.
Tribune Chronicle / Nick Mays
Liberty’s Leah Leshnack (left, 12) tries to get the ball past the defense of Newton Falls’ Gabrielle Kline (12) during their match Tuesday night.
"Not give them any hope," Stanley said.
And with a three-set sweep of Newton Falls on Tuesday, "We accomplished that," Leshnack said.
The Leopards beat the Tigers, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-20.
"Newton Falls is strong," Liberty coach Dave Sewell said. "I knew that coming in. I'm proud of my girls because they played very hard and we're focused from the get-go."
The Leopards (5-1, 1-0 All-American Conference National Division) led early in each of the three sets, with Newton Falls (5-3, 1-1) having to play catch up.
"That wasn't our usual attack," said Tigers coach Kristina Baker. "We might have been a step behind."
They were playing their second game of the week, with Champion on the schedule Thursday, after three weeks of just playing one or two games.
"It might be catching up to us," Baker said. "We'll have to rest then get right back at it. I'm confident that we'll bounce back."
Liberty was playing without starting setter Marcy Dykes, who injured her leg earlier on Tuesday. Sewell inserted two sophomores, Raven Watson and Amy Mikulich, into the lineup and was pleased with their efforts.
"They've practiced a lot, but they haven't had much game experience so they rotated in and out," he said. "They all adjusted very well. Sometimes a change like that brings out the best."
Leshnack tallied 10 kills, 19 assists and nine points, while Stanley had 14 kills, 12 assists and four points. Courteney Lukac added six kills. eight points and four aces.
"We've actually had a few different lineups so far this year," Lukac said. "And we're doing amazing. We have that kind of talent here at Liberty."
The Leopards never trailed by more than three points in any of the sets. A series of kills by Gabby Kline and Hannah Zelle, followed by an out of bounds hit by a Liberty player tied Game 3 at 20. But five-straight kills by Maleah Schiavone, Leshnack, Allie Adler, Leshnack (again) and Julia Rivera clinched it.
"The reason why we were strong is because we had excellent passes to them on the front lines," Sewell said. "Our digs were on the money and when that happens we have a chance to put it away."
Adler finished with seven kills, six points, four blocks and four digs.
"It was a good start to our season, even though we're a few games in, it was the first time we really came together as a team," Stanley said.
Sadie Sutton led Newton Falls with 16 digs, 10 points and two aces. Kline had 14 kills, Kate Wainwright had 16 assists and Brooke Barreca landed eight kills.