Then Liberty showed its firepower. It went on a 12-2 run in which Hartman had three of her game-high 13 kills and Schroeder laced two straight aces. Six of its final points in the set were off kills.
“Liberty is definitely a fast playing team and I feel like we weren’t quite ready for that,” Bettendorf senior setter Ellie Aanestad said, “and they have some good hitters that can place it in a bunch of different spots.”
The Bulldogs crept to within 16-15 in the second set off of two consecutive aces from Lillie Petersen, but three straight Lightning kills – two from Hartman – pushed the lead back to four.
“We needed to get that energy back, but we couldn’t quite do that,” Aanestad said.
Schroeder, who went an unblemished 21-for-21 serving, gave Liberty a 2-0 advantage with two straight aces.
“Serve receive was not our strongest asset to the game,” Grannen said.
It was all Lightning in the final set, breaking a 4-4 tie with nine unanswered then ending the evening with an 11-1 outburst to begin the celebration.
Bettendorf finished with 10 attacking errors, five service errors and seven other violations.
“We didn’t cover the block as much as we could have and a few of the sets were tight to the net or we had a few communication errors,” Aanestad said. “Cleaning those up definitely would’ve been a closer game.”