Conference wide open after Blue Hose fall

Liberty defeats Big South leader Presbyterian, falls to Winthrop, snapping a three-game Flames win streak

The Liberty University women’s volleyball team started off their weekend with a big 3-1 win over first-place Presbyterian College Friday, Oct. 25 (25-12, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21).

Junior Gabrielle Shipe posted a match-high 21 digs, making her the 19th player in program history to post 1,000 digs.

moving up — Lillie Happel moved to 11th all-time in Flames history in kills. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Moving up — Lillie Happel moved to 11th all-time in Flames history in kills. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

The Flames were able to pull off an easy win in game one, outscoring Presbyterian 25-12. Liberty outhit the Blue Hose .526 to -.050. Senior Lillie Happel posted three aces on an 8-0 run, giving the Flames an 18-6 advantage.

Liberty kept the momentum alive heading into the second set. The Flames gained an 11-point lead and pushed to win match two, 25-16.

In set three, the Flames were on top with a 17-12 lead, but the Blue Hose came fighting back with a seven-point run. Presbyterian pulled a 25-20 win over the Flames, forcing a fourth-game.

The Flames built a 22-17 lead against the Blue Hose in the fourth set. The Blue Hose closed the gap, bringing the set within three, 23-20. Liberty’s Kendle Rollins and Caroline Douglas both posted a block, giving the Flames a 25-21 win over Presbyterian.

Liberty hit a season-high .295, while the Blue Hose posted a .123 hitting percentage on the match. The Flames beat the Blue Hose in blocking, 13-10.

Douglas recorded 13 kills on the match, and Happel was close behind with 12. Junior Melissa Racz posted a season-high 10 kills. Senior Jade Craycraft posted 42 assists and nine digs. Rollins registered a team-high six blocks.

After the win against Presbyterian Friday night, the Flames were looking to do the same Saturday, Oct. 26 against the Winthrop Eagles.

The Eagles were able to end their three-game losing streak, beating the Flames 3-2 and ending Liberty’s three-game winning streak.

Set one featured nine ties and four lead changes, but the Flames were able to pull off the win with a kill from Douglas. The second set went in the Flames favor once again with help from Douglas, Craycraft and Rollins for kills, giving the Flames a 25-23 win over the Eagles.

The Eagles were determined in set three, pulling off a hard-fought win, 26-24, over the Flames. Winthrop registered 17 kills in set four alone, giving them a 25-16 win over Liberty and forcing a fifth and final match.

Winthrop gained a 10-4 lead against the Flames in the last set. Liberty gained momentum late in the set, but were unable to clinch the win, giving the Eagles a 15-10 win.
The Eagles outhit the Flames .242 to .190. Liberty posted 12 blocks to Presbyterian’s eight.

Happel recorded 16 kills, placing her in 11th place with 1,161 career kills at Liberty. Douglas posted 12 kills while Rollins had eight. Rollins also posted seven blocks on the match. Craycraft had 39 assists along with eight kills on the night.

The Flames will play at home Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. against commonwealth rival Radford University.

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