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Lady Flames Rally for 3-2 Win Over UNCG
The Liberty Lady Flames rallied from a 2-0 deficit to down UNCG, 3-2 (18-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-8) during the final match of the Liberty Invitational, Saturday at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames improve to 5-3 on the campaign, going 2-2 on the weekend. UNCG (4-2) posted a 2-1 record at the tournament, which Murray State won by winning all three of its matches.
Saturday marked the first time since Aug. 31, 2012 against Jacksonville, that the Lady Flames had won a match in which they trailed, 2-0.
Liberty outhit UNCG, .229 to .164, while also holding a 10.5-8.0 advantage in blocks. UNCG edged Liberty in digs, 81-80.
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas sent down a season-high 21 kills for Liberty, becoming the first Lady Flame with a 20-kill match since Douglas had 26 at High Point, Nov. 2, 2012 and helping her earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Freshman Hannah Weidner recorded 16 kills and five blocks, while junior Jade Vorster tied her season highs with 11 kills and six blocks.
Senior Gabrielle Shipe recorded a season-high 29 digs, her most since posting 31 versus High Point, Nov. 8, 2013. Shipe also passed Theresa Passamani (2000-03) into 10th place all-time at Liberty with 1,292 career digs. Junior Haley Jeffcoat totaled 14 digs, while classmates Maribeth Kern and Rachel Smoltz both registered a career-high 10 digs. Junior Caila Stapleton dished out 41 assists.
UNCG redshirt junior Julia Westerbur led five Spartans in double figures, with 13 kills. Sophomore Jessica Brezwyn (12 kills), senior Kelsey Sidney (11), senior Vicky Harley (11) and freshman Ashley Muench all had 10 or more kills. Harley, the Spartans' all-tournament team representative, tied for the match high with six blocks, while sophomore Sarah Hohman led all players with 52 assists. Freshman Cayce Bell registered 20 digs, with Brezwyn, Hohman and freshman Anna Romaniszyn all reaching double digits as well.
The Spartans held a comfortable lead throughout the majority of set one, winning 25-18 to take a 1-0 match lead. UNCG hit .211 during the opening stanza, compared to .067 for the Lady Flames. Harley scored four kills for the visitors, while teammate Leah Wells added two service aces.
UNCG led by just two, 16-14, midway through the second set, after a Weidner-Vorster block. However, the Spartans outscored Liberty, 9-3, over the final 12 serves, with Sidney scoring three kills and Westerbur recording kills for the final two points of a 25-17 Spartan victory.
The guests outhit Liberty, .238 to .059, during set two, and Brezwyn led all players with four kills.
Liberty, facing a 2-0 match deficit, extended the match by claiming set three, 25-22. The Lady Flames led from start to finish, although UNCG challenged late, pulling to within one, 22-21 after a Liberty error.
The Lady Flames recorded a .296 attack percentage in the third set, while the Spartans hit .185. Douglas recorded seven kills, and Weidner had five.
The hosts pulled away late for a 25-18, set-four victory to send the match to a decisive fifth set. Liberty outscored UNCG, 11-5, down the stretch, with Douglas clinching the set, 25-18, by scoring her fourth kill of the set.
Liberty hit .314 during set four, and held UNCG to .054, thanks in part to three blocks. Vorster and Weidner both assisted on two blocks for the Lady Flames.
Set five saw the Lady Flames take control early, and Weidner put Liberty ahead, 8-5, at the changeover with a kill. UNCG pulled to within one, 9-8, after a Sidney kill. The Lady Flames then scored the final six points in a row, including three kills from Douglas and a match-ending block by Stapleton and Vorster for a 15-8 win.
During set five, Liberty outhit UNCG, .409 to .083, as the hosts received five kills from Douglas, scoring 11 of their 15 points on kills.
The Lady Flames will play their next eight matches away from the Vines Center, beginning with a 7 p.m. contest at Georgetown on Tuesday.
2014 Liberty Invitational All-Tournament Team
Taylor Olden, Murray State (Tournament MVP)
Scottie Ingram, Murray State
Kristen Besselsen, Murray State
Caroline Douglas, Liberty
Vicky Harley, UNCG
Kayla Eversgerd, USC Upstate
Khaila Donaldson, Howard