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Lady Flames Record 3-1 Victory at Brown
Liberty overcame an early 1-0 deficit, winning the final three sets to claim a 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-23) victory over the host Brown Bears on Friday at the Pizzitola Center.
With the win, the Lady Flames (7-4) even their tournament record at 1-1, as Liberty competes twice tomorrow to finish the Brown Invitational. The host Bears now hold a 1-5 record on the season.
Liberty outhit Brown, .275 to .199, while holding a 13-0 advantage in blocks. The Bears led, 10-7, in service aces, and both teams collected 52 digs.
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas scored a team-high 14 kills, hitting .464, while freshman Hannah Weidner followed with 10 kills. Sophomore Nzea McQuitery contributed nine kills and six blocks. Freshman Anna Willey set new career highs with six blocks, nine digs and 33 assists, while junior Jade Vorster posted two aces and a match-high seven blocks. Senior Gabrielle Shipe tied for the match high with 19 digs, while Shipe and junior Rachel Smoltz both served up two aces.
Brown senior Maddie Lord recorded a match-high 18 kills, while sophomore Payton Smith chipped in 11 kills. Sophomore Sarah Lucenti totaled 31 assists and a match-high three service aces, while senior Kathryn Connor collected 19 digs.
The Bears jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead during set one, on the way to a 25-16 victory. After Liberty had drawn to within 11-8, Brown outscored the Lady Flames, 14-8, over the final 22 serves. Both teams hit for a high percentage, with Brown connecting at a .469 clip and Liberty hitting .364. Additionally, each team served up three aces in the first session. Lord recorded eight kills to lead all players in set one.
Liberty used its blocking game to great effect in the second set, posting four blocks while holding Brown to a .182 hitting percentage. The Lady Flames continued their hot hitting, with a .417 attack percentage during the frame. Douglas recorded five kills for Liberty, while three Lady Flames had two blocks apiece. The visitors opened up a 21-14 advantage, which Brown trimmed to three, 23-20, following a 6-2 Bears rally. However, the hosts could not complete the comeback, as Liberty took set two, 25-21.
The Lady Flames trailed by as many as seven points during set three, 18-11, following a 14-4 Brown rally. However, Liberty continued to chip away at the deficit. Back-to-back Douglas kills drew Liberty to within 22-21. Two straight Brown points gave the hosts three set-point chances. Liberty scored the final five points of the set, with Douglas, Vorster and Willey all scoring late kills to help the visitors win, 26-24.
The visitors continued to block well, with four set-three rejections. Liberty outhit Brown, .167 to .121. Douglas scored five kills, while teammate McQuitery assisted on three blocks.
The Bears got off to a 16-10 lead in set four. Liberty then recorded four kills, a block and an ace in a 9-3 span to tie it up, 19-19. The score went back and forth, producing a 23-22 Liberty lead after back-to-back kills by Jeffcoat and McQuitery. Following a Bears kill, the Lady Flames wrapped up the set, 25-23, ending on a block by Vorster and Willey.
Liberty held the Bears to a .070 attack percentage during the final set, as the Lady Flames recorded five blocks. Vorster contributed four blocks, and Willey had three rejections.
Liberty will compete in two more matches tomorrow to close out its time at the Brown Invitational. The Lady Flames take on UMass-Lowell at 11:30 a.m., before meeting 2013 MAAC champion Fairfield at 5 p.m.