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Liberty Downs UMass Lowell, 3-1, Behind Efficient Offense
Liberty hit a season-high .327 on the way to a 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-14) victory over UMass Lowell on Saturday at the Brown Invitational.
With the win, the Lady Flames' record now stands at 8-4, including 2-1 at this weekend's invitational, with one match remaining. The River Hawks fall to 1-9 on the campaign.
The Lady Flames hit .327 for the match, while UMass Lowell attacked at a .186 clip. Liberty matched its season high with eight aces, compared to seven aces for the River Hawks. The Lady Flames led, 5-1 in blocks and 47-44 in digs.
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas registered a match-high 17 kills for the Lady Flames, while freshman Hannah Weidner recorded 10 kills. Senior Gabrielle Shipe collected 15 digs and added three aces, and junior Jade Vorster contributed seven kills and four blocks. Junior Caila Stapleton paced the Lady Flames with 24 assists, while freshman Sirena Vorster served up two aces.
UMass Lowell freshman Masha Yelsukova scored a match-high 19 kills, hitting .432. Sophomore Kylee Chun dished out a match-high 32 assists to go along with nine digs and three service aces. Senior Hannah Rey collected a match-best 17 digs.
The River Hawks stormed out to an 8-0 lead at the beginning of the first set. Liberty drew to within five on two occasions, but got no closer, as UMass Lowell won the opening frame, 25-16. The River Hawks hit .353 while also recording four aces, while Liberty hit .312. Yelsukova recorded eight kills to lead all players.
The Lady Flames took control of the second set early, building a 12-4 lead on the way to a 25-19 victory to tie the match at one set apiece. Liberty served up four aces during the session, including two from Shipe. Both teams continued to hit well, with Liberty attacking at a .364 pace and the River Hawks hitting .292. Yelsukova added five kills on seven attempts for UMass Lowell.
Liberty broke open a close third set, outscoring the River Hawks, 10-4, during the middle stages to gain a 20-12 advantage. UMass Lowell trimmed the deficit to six at 20-14 before the Lady Flames closed out the set, with Douglas' kill clinching the 25-17 win. Liberty hit .214 during set three, compared to .097 for UMass Lowell. Douglas recorded four kills for the Lady Flames.
Set four went back and forth early on. Trailing, 14-8, the River Hawks went on a 6-2 run to narrow the gap to 16-14. The Lady Flames shut out UMass Lowell from that point on, ending the set and match on a 9-0 run with Liberty winning set four, 25-14. Douglas scored four of Liberty's five kills during their match-ending nine-point surge.
During set four, the Lady Flames hit .440, to .000 for the River Hawks. Douglas sent down seven kills at a .419 pace for Liberty.
Liberty wraps up its time in Providence at 5 p.m. today, when the Lady Flames take on 2013 MAAC champion Fairfield.