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Liberty Sweeps Fairfield, 3-0, Claims Title at Brown Invitational
Liberty closed out the Brown Invitational with a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-19, 25-18) over Fairfield, Saturday at the Pizzitola Center.
By posting a 3-1 record at the invitational, the Lady Flames were named tournament champion, due to winning percentage. Brown and Central Connecticut finished in second and third, respectively, with 2-1 showings this weekend. It marks Liberty's first title in a regular-season invitational since winning the 2012 UCF/Mizuno Classic in Orlando, Fla.
The Lady Flames improve to 9-4 on the season with their third straight victory since dropping the tournament opener to Central Connecticut on Friday. Fairfield (4-6), the 2013 MAAC champion went 1-2 while in Providence.
Liberty hit .252 for the match, while Fairfield attacked at a .112 pace. The Lady Flames led, 73-62, in digs, while Fairfield led in aces, 4-3 and both teams recorded four blocks.
For their efforts this weekend, redshirt junior Caroline Douglas and senior Gabrielle Shipe were named to the Brown Invitational All-Tournament team.
Douglas scored a match-high 13 kills, to go with a career-high 17 digs for her third career double-double. Freshman Hannah Weidner hit .407 with 12 kills. Shipe collected a match-high 19 digs. Junior Caila Stapleton recorded her third double-double, with 35 assists and 16 digs, while freshman Sirena Vorster served up two aces.
For Fairfield, freshman Megan Theiller and senior Marilyn Peizer shared the team lead with nine kills each. Senior Carsen Mata totaled 26 assists and three aces, while classmate Camille Coffey collected a team-high 15 digs. Theiller (13 digs), freshman Sydney Buckley (11) and sophomore Bella Guanciale all reached double figures in digs.
The Lady Flames got off to a fast start to the opening frame, with Weidner's fourth kill giving Liberty a 20-13 advantage. Liberty attack errors on four straight serves brought Fairfield to within 20-17. However, the Lady Flames outscored the Stags, 5-1, down the stretch, as Stapleton's kill sealed the 25-18 set victory.
Liberty hit .157 during the opening session, compared to .020 for Fairfield. The Lady Flames outdug the Stags, 28-26, getting eight digs from Douglas.
The teams battled back and forth during set two. Fairfield took its last lead at 17-16, on a kill by Weaver. Weidner then tied the score with a kill, sparking a 9-2 Liberty rally to the finish, as the Lady Flames took the second session, 25-19.
Liberty doubled Fairfield's kill total in the second set, 20-10, while also holding a .264 to .167 advantage in attack percentage. Douglas led all players with seven set-two kills.
Set three remained close until 13-12, when Liberty went on an 8-3 run, capped by a Douglas kill. Weidner had two kills and a block during the Lady Flames' surge. Fairfield only got as close at 21-17, before Liberty closed out the match, 25-18.
The Lady Flames outhit the Stags, .371 to .163 in set three, as Weidner hit .833 (5-0-6) for Liberty. Theiller and Peizer both converted four kills for Fairfield.
The Lady Flames will next compete in the Bruin Classic, hosted by Belmont next Friday and Saturday. While in Nashville, Liberty will face Northern Kentucky on Friday, before taking on Wright State and Belmont on Saturday.