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Lady Flames Down UNC Asheville, 3-1, for Pinder's 200th Win
The Liberty volleyball team rallied for a 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 26-24) win over UNC Asheville on Saturday at the Justice Center. The Lady Flames' victory was the 200th in the career of 11th year head coach Shane Pinder.
Pinder is now the fourth volleyball coach in Big South history to post 200 or more career wins. Last night, he became Liberty's all-time winningest volleyball coach with a 3-0 sweep of Gardner-Webb.
The Lady Flames (15-5, 3-0 Big South) have now won six matches in a row, and are in sole possession of first place in the Big South after two weekends of conference play. UNC Asheville falls to 3-15, 0-3 in conference contests.
Liberty hit .263 for the match, compared to .193 for the Bulldogs. The Lady Flames led, 63-59, in digs, while both team registered four aces and seven blocks.
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas sent down a match-high 21 kills, good for her fifth straight 20-kill match. Her streak of 20-kill matches is the longest since a five-match streak by Jennifer Belk in 2004. Freshman Hannah Weidner recorded 15 kills, marking the 13th straight match during which both Weidner and Douglas have reached double digits. Freshman Sirena Vorster hit .474 with 10 kills, to go with three blocks and three aces.
Liberty junior Caila Stapleton registered her team-leading seventh double-double, with 56 assists and 15 digs. Senior Gabrielle Shipe collected 19 digs, while junior Rachel Smoltz collected 10 digs. Junior Jade Vorster led the Lady Flames with four blocks.
Shelby Erickson paced UNC Asheville with 15 kills, while Catherine Fischer totaled 10 kills. Christine Lakatos contributed nine kills, 10 digs and four blocks, while Bryn Pfieffer collected a match-high 20 digs. Diana Enriquez posted four blocks.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-10 lead during the first set. Liberty chipped away, drawing to within 17-14 on a kill by Weidner. UNC Asheville then stretched its lead to 22-15 with a 5-1 run that featured two Lakatos kills. Douglas scored three late kills, but the hosts held on for a 25-20 victory.
UNC Asheville led in hitting percentage, .297-.243. Douglas led all players with eight kills, while Erickson sent down five kills for the Bulldogs.
Set two saw the Lady Flames storm out to an 18-12 advantage after Weidner's sixth kill of the session. The Bulldogs sliced the margin to 21-19 with a 7-3 rally capped by an Erickson kill. Jade Vorster scored two kills down the stretch, as Liberty pulled away, 25-19, by scoring four straight points.
Liberty outhit UNC Asheville, .389-.206, during the second stanza. Weidner recorded seven kills for the Lady Flames, while the hosts' Erickson scored five kills.
The Lady Flames broke open a close third set, outscoring the Bulldogs 10-4 over the span of the final 14 serves to win by a score of 25-19. During that span, Gabrielle Vess sent down three kills, followed by Jade Vorster with two kills. Liberty hit .312 during the third stanza, compared to .074 for the Bulldogs. Vess and Weidner both recorded four kills.
Liberty claimed a commanding 22-15 lead late during set four. UNC Asheville rebounded, rallying all the way back to tie the score at 24-24 with a 9-2 rally. Madison Vaughn posted two kills and a block during the Bulldogs' late rally. After Vaughn's score-tying kill, Liberty claimed the match with back-to-back kills by Douglas and Weidner.
UNC Asheville held a slim, .167-.149 edge in the final frame. Douglas scored eight kills to push her match total to 21.
Liberty returns home for its next three matches, starting with a 7 p.m. contest, Friday against Campbell. The Lady Flames will then take on High Point at 2 p.m. on Saturday.