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Liberty Wins 8th Straight, Stuns High Point, 3-2

October 11, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Senior Gabrielle Shipe led the Lady Flames with 20 digs on Saturday against High Point.

Trailing 2-0 in the match, and facing a 19-13 deficit in set three, Liberty bounced back for a thrilling, five-set (20-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12) comeback victory over the visiting High Point Panthers, Saturday at the Vines Center.

The Big South Conference-leading Lady Flames improve to 17-5, including 5-0 in Big South play following their eighth win in a row. The last time Liberty faced a 2-0 deficit and came back to win was Sept. 6, 2014 against UNCG. High Point falls to 7-11, 1-4 in conference play after sustaining a 3-2 setback for the second straight day.

For the match, the Panthers led, .187-158 in attack percentage. High Point also led, 7-5 in aces, 13-8.5 in blocks and 88-83 in digs.

Liberty redshirt junior Caroline Douglas recorded her seventh double-double of the season, with 20 kills and 13 digs. Junior Jade Vorster scored a season-high 12 kills to go with six blocks. Freshman Hannah Weidner contributed 11 kills and four blocks, her 16th straight 10-kill match.

Liberty junior Caila Stapleton registered her team-best eighth double-double, with 51 assists and 16 digs. Senior Gabrielle Shipe led five Lady Flames in double figures with 20 digs. Freshman Hannah Williams collected a career-high 14 digs, while sophomore Kate Corson had 10 digs and junior Rachel Smoltz served up two aces.

Senior Kristin Heldt totaled 18 kills, 18 digs and five blocks for the Panthers, while freshman Haley Barnes added 14 kills. Senior Chelsea Davis registered 10 kills, 11 digs and three solo blocks, while redshirt sophomore Savannah Angel had five blocks. Junior Gabi Mirand contributed 52 assists and 13 digs, while classmate Wavie Chin collected a match-high 28 digs.

The Panthers use a late rally to pull away for a 25-20, set-one victory. With the score tied, 14-14, High Point scored three straight points via blocks. After a Weidner kill made it 17-15, the visitors outscored Liberty, 8-5, down the stretch for the win.

High Point outhit the Lady Flames, .205-.079 during the opening set, as both teams posted four blocks. Angel led all players with five kills in the first set.

The visitors led the second session by just two, 17-15, following a kill by Gabrielle Vess. High Point scored on 10 out of the final 13 serves, capitalizing on several Liberty errors to take the set, 25-18, and gain a 2-0 lead in the match.

During set two, the Panthers held a .324-.149 edge in attack percentage, while Douglas scored seven kills for Liberty.

The Lady Flames had their backs against the wall in set three, trailing 19-13 after an ace by Heldt. A pair of Smoltz aces capped Liberty's 5-1 rally, which drew the hosts to within 20-18. Four rally points set the score to 22-21, High Point. With the score tied at 23-all, Douglas sent down a kill, and then Douglas, Vorster and Stapleton posted a triple block to win the third set, 25-23.

Both teams hit for low percentage during set three, with High Point leading, .100-.054. Douglas recorded half of Liberty's 10 kills in the third frame.

After an early, back-and-forth rhythm to the fourth session, Liberty staged an 8-4 rally to take the lead, 20-16. High Point went on a 5-2 run, drawing to within 22-21 after Davis' third kill of the Panthers' rally. A Panther service error made it 23-21, and Stapleton scored a kill on Liberty's second set-point try to force a fifth set, 25-22. Liberty outhit High Point, .350-.182, during set four.

High Point held a narrow, 8-7 advantage at the changeover in set five, and the Panthers led, 9-8, after a Davis kill. Two straight High Point errors and a Vorster kill pushed Liberty ahead for the first time, 12-9. Trailing, 13-10, the visitors rallied to within 13-12 after a kill by Barnes. Douglas then scored a kill, and a Barnes attack error sealed the 15-12 win and completed the comeback for Liberty.

The Lady Flames hit .350 during the fifth frame, compared the .182 for High Point. Barnes led all players with four set-five kills.

Liberty concludes its three match homestand next Tuesday, welcoming the William & Mary Tribe to the Vines Center for a 7 p.m. match. That will serve as the Lady Flames' final regular-season nonconference contest this year.