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Lady Flames Edge Belmont, 3-1

September 20, 2014
|  Nashville, Tenn.
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Caila Stapleton recorded a double-double with 49 assists and 14 digs on Saturday at Belmont.

The Liberty volleyball team held off tournament host Belmont, 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 30-32, 25-19), to finish the Bruin Classic on Saturday at the Curb Event Center.

The Lady Flames (11-5) went 2-1 this weekend to place second at the invitational. Belmont falls to 4-9 after going 1-2 at the Bruin Classic. Northern Kentucky won the tournament with a 3-0 record.

Lady Flames Caroline Douglas, Gabrielle Shipe and Hannah Weidner were all named to the Bruin Classic All-Tournament team for their efforts this weekend.

For the match, Liberty hit .233, while Belmont attacked at a .189 pace. The Lady Flames led, 69-63 in digs, 12-10 in blocks and 8-4 in service aces.

Douglas recorded a match-high 24 kills and 11 digs, good for her third 20-kill match of the season and fourth double-double in a row. Weidner finished with 13 kills. Junior Caila Stapleton recorded 49 assists, 14 digs, two aces and four blocks. Shipe collected a match-best 19 digs, while sophomore Kate Corson totaled 10 digs. Junior Jade Vorster recorded seven kills and five blocks, while sister Sirena Vorster contributed seven kills, six blocks and three aces.

Belmont freshman Arianna Person recorded 18 kills to go with 16 digs, while classmate Emma Price contributed 41 assists and 12 digs. Freshman Ellie Ivancich had 10 digs, while senior Alex Martin posted five blocks.

Set one was closely contested, with 12 ties and four lead changes. The Lady Flames held the lead, 21-19, following a Weidner kill. Belmont tied the score at 21-21 on a block by Person. A pair of Belmont attack errors later made it 24-22 Liberty. Following a Person kill, Person served into the net and Liberty sealed the 25-23 victory.

Liberty outhit the Bruins, .270 to .189, during the opening session. Person scored six kills for the Bruins, and Douglas responded with six kills.

The Lady Flames broke open a tight second set with a pair of extended runs. Liberty trailed 13-11 before Jade Vorster sparked a 6-0 run with a solo block. After Belmont drew to within 17-16, Vorster started a five-point rally for Liberty by sending down a kill, as Liberty built a 22-16 advantage. Liberty went to intermission leading 2-0 after winning set two, 25-19.

Liberty hit .280 during the second stanza, compare to .194 for the Bruins. Scoring four kills during the set were Liberty's Douglas and Weidner and Belmont's Person.

Set three proved to be Liberty's longest set so far this season, with Belmont outlasting the Lady Flames, 32-30. The Bruins gained set point at 24-23. Liberty successfully fought off six set-point tries, and the Lady Flames earned one match-point chance of their own. Belmont converted its seventh set-point opportunity, with an ace from Emma Price.

Belmont held a .214 to .180 advantage in hitting percentage during the third set, although Liberty recorded four blocks. Douglas led all players with seven kills.

The Lady Flames led by two, 20-18, in set four before ending the match on a 5-1 rally to win, 25-19. Liberty posted a pair of blocks during their closing surge, while also getting kills from Weidner and Gabrielle Vess and an ace from Shipe.

Liberty hit .250 with 15 kills during the fourth set, while Belmont hit .143 with 10 kills. Douglas scored eight kills at .368 for the Lady Flames, while Person recorded five kills. Sirena Vorster totaled three block assists and two aces. 

The Lady Flames return home for their next two matches, both against Commonwealth opponents. Liberty hosts ACC foe Virginia on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Vines Center, before welcoming defending Big South champion Radford to Lynchburg for the conference opener, Friday at 7 p.m.