The Lady Flames volleyball team traveled to Charlottesville, Va, Sept. 15 in hopes of claiming a victory in the Marriott Cavalier Classic.
Liberty took the court at 1 p.m. to face the Virginia Tech Hokies. They fell short in a tough-fought first set (25-20), but pulled off a win in the second set with a kill from freshman Caroline Douglas (25-21).
The Hokies pulled ahead and won the third match (25-16), but the Lady Flames were not ready to give up. They stuck with the Hokies in the fourth match with a tie at 21-all. Tech ended the set on a kill from Samantha Gostling to win the match.
“I was happy with the way we played against Virginia Tech overall,” head coach Shane Pinder said. “We just had some moments where we didn’t convert some plays and had some chances to push it to a fifth set. We just fell short.”
Tech’s hitting average of .309 bested Liberty’s average of .234. Senior Loren Thomas and freshman Caroline Douglas both posted 14 kills. Junior Jade Craycraft had 41 assists in addition to seven kills on the match. Sophomore Gabrielle Shipe had a team-high 13 digs with junior Becca Haraf adding 11.
LU vs. UVA
The Lady Flames were ready to redeem themselves as they faced the University of Virginia Cavaliers at 7 p.m.
They started the match on fire with a 13-5 lead in the first set. The Lady Flames pushed through the match with help from Douglas and her set-winning kill, gaining a 25-18 victory.
The second set was close, but the Lady Flames held their own and took the win (25-23), giving them a 2-0 lead over the Cavaliers. UVA started the third match with a 4-point lead, but Liberty caught up, taking the lead (18-17). Virginia ended the third set scoring the last eight of nine points, ending the game (25-19).
It was anyone’s match at the beginning of the fourth set with the score tied at 14-all. The set closed with a Cavalier win (25-23), forcing a fifth and final set. UVA started the fifth set with a strong lead, which helped them to a 15-8 victory.
“We had a chance to end it in the third, had a couple opportunities in the fourth, and didn’t put them away,” Pinder said.
The Cavaliers posted 70 kills in the match, while the Lady Flames posted 47. Liberty had 13 blocks compared to UVA is seven. Sophomore Ansley Gebben finished with 15 kills, while Douglas followed with 14. Shipe had a total of 22 digs on the night while Craycraft posted 33 assists.
According to libertyflames.com, Thomas’ four blocks gave her a total of 403 blocks in her career. She is the third player in program history to have 400 or more career blocks.
The Lady Flames will travel to Washington, D.C. Sept. 18 to take on the Georgetown Hoyas of the Big East at 7 p.m.