QUINCY -- One strategically placed serve can seize momentum in a blink.
Do it eight consecutive times the way Taylor Keck did and it never goes away.
The first nine points of Thursday night's match at the Pit went back and forth as the Quincy Notre Dame and Liberty volleyball teams saw the stretch end with three consecutive serves sailing long. Keck took the ball, made certain her first serve was in play and didn't give the ball back until the Raiders led 13-4.
After that, the outcome seemed inevitable as the Raiders rolled to a 25-13, 25-14 victory.
"Momentum affects how we play a great deal," Keck said. "If we have a lot of momentum and a lot of energy, we play really well."
It makes the Raiders feel almost invincible.
"When we're on a run, it definitely feels like we are in control," QND outside hitter Sydney Hummert said. "Keeping our energy up and focusing on the positives really keeps that going."
Hummert got QND off to a quality start, driving down on a kill for the first point of the match. Liberty's Julia Hahn answered with a shot off a defender, and each team had possession errors that contributed to nine consecutive sideouts.
"Sometimes it takes time to get into a groove," QND coach Courtney Kvitle said. "I let them ride it out until that happens. Once they have control, they just do it. They do what I ask and they just go play. It catches on, and as you can see, they're playing really well right now."
Dominant, in fact.
During Keck's eight-point service run, she had two aces and kills from three different teammates. Hummert followed with three kills in a four-point span that extended the lead to 17-8 and finished with eight kills overall.
Five different QND players had kills and three had aces in the first set.
"It was easy to grasp the momentum because we were playing very well," Keck said.
It started with efficient serving.
"I placed the ball in the seams," Keck said. "I didn't hit it right to the players. They had to reach for it in order to get it, and it didn't allow them to get a good pass or a good set."
The momentum carried over to the second as the Raiders scored the first four points and nine of the first 11, which allowed Kvitle to substitute liberally and get kills from eight different players.
Meredith Siebers led the Raiders with 13 digs, while Maddie Peters had 23 assists and Katie Ray had six kills as the Raiders continue to mesh.
"We're working on so much in practice in the gym and I'm getting them to do things they probably never thought they could do one, two , three years ago," Kvitle said. "We're really trying to up our game right now and get ready for the teams we will face in the postseason.
"We are getting better. There are things fans and other people may not see but I see that they are figuring out which are huge things."