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Liberty Hands UNC Asheville 1st Home Loss, 3-0
Behind a season-high .297 hitting percentage, Liberty swept UNC Asheville, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) on Friday at the Justice Center. In the process, the Lady Flames broke Asheville's 12-match home winning streak, dating to the 2012 season.
The two teams entered the match as part of a three-way tie for third in the Big South. Liberty improves to 9-17, including 8-5 in conference play. UNC Asheville (17-12, 7-6) suffered its first loss in the Justice Center this year after opening the season 8-0 at home.
For the match, Liberty outhit Asheville, .297-.200, while holding a 6-2 advantage in blocks and outdigging the Bulldogs, 70-66.
Three Lady Flames recorded double-doubles on the evening. Redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 13 kills in addition to 10 digs, while senior Lillie Happel recorded 10 kills and 10 digs. Senior Jade Craycraft totaled nine kills, 38 assists, 10 digs and three blocks. Junior Gabrielle Shipe collected 25 digs, giving her seven 20-dig matches on the season. Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins contributed nine kills and three blocks, while senior Becca Haraf chipped in with 13 digs.
For Asheville, Rachel Wells led all players with 41 digs, as she totaled nearly two-thirds of the Bulldogs' digs. Christine Lakatos recorded 10 kills, while Anna Moore contributed nine kills. Katie Davis dished out a team-high 34 assists.
The Lady Flames controlled play early on, holding a 19-14 advantage following a Happel kill. UNC Asheville battled back, staging a 7-2 rally and tied the set, at 21-21, after an ace from Alex Stewart. Craycraft then recorded a block and an ace, making it 23-21, Liberty. After three rally points, Racz sent down a kill to seal the 25-23 set-one victory.
Liberty outhit Asheville, .264-.224, during set one, with the Lady Flames posting four blocks. Lakatos scored eight kills, while Wells collected 19 digs during the set. Douglas recorded four kills for Liberty.
The visitors raced out to a 19-9 advantage in set two, with Happel and Douglas scoring four kills apiece during the early surge. UNC Asheville scored the next three points, beginning to chip away at the deficit. A Moore kill brought the Bulldogs to within three, 21-18. The Lady Flames outscored Asheville, 4-1, down the stretch, with back-to-back Douglas kills clinching a 25-19 set victory.
Liberty hit .383 during the second set, compared to .239 for Asheville. Happel and Douglas had seven kills apiece for Liberty, while Madison Vaughn scored five kills.
Similarly to set two, Liberty built a 10-point lead during the final set, 22-12. A four-point Asheville run ensued, capped by a double block from Vaughn and Catherine Fischer. The Bulldogs could get no closer, and the Lady Flames' 25-17 set-three victory put the finishing touches on a 3-0 sweep.
Rollins scored on all five of her attacks during set three, as the Lady Flames hit .237. Both teams recorded 18 digs, with Shipe and Wells collecting 10 digs apiece.
The Lady Flames close out their 2013 regular-season schedule tomorrow, with a 4 p.m. match at Gardner-Webb, inside Paul Porter Arena.