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High Point Edges Lady Flames, 3-1
Conference-leading Liberty and High Point staged a hard-fought, four-set match, which the host Panthers won, 3-1 (25-14, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23), Friday at the Millis Center.
With the win, its third in a row, High Point improves to 11-13, 5-6 in Big South play. Liberty is now 22-7, and is tied with Radford for first place in the Big South with a 9-2 conference mark. Liberty and High Point split their two meetings this season.
The Panthers outhit Liberty, .285-.277, while also leading, 5-4 in aces, 53-51 in digs and 8-7.5 in blocks.
Liberty junior middle blocker Jade Vorster led all players with a career-high 16 kills, hitting .480 while also adding three blocks. Sophomore Nzea McQuitery totaled 10 kills (.389) and three blocks. Freshman Anna Willey dished out a season- and match-high 45 assists, in addition to scoring five kills. Freshman Gabrielle Vess posted career highs with eight kills and four aces, while senior Gabrielle Shipe collected a team-high 18 digs.
Senior Kristin Heldt led four High Point players in double figures with 13 kills. Freshman Haley Barnes sent down 11 kills, while senior Chelsea Davis and freshman Camryn Freiberg added 10 kills apiece. Freiberg totaled four blocks, and Davis had a match-high five blocks. Junior Gabri Mirand dished out 43 assists, and classmate Wavie Chin collected 22 digs.
Back-to-back aces by Chin closed out a 6-0 High Point run, early in the opening set. Liberty got no closer than five points down during the rest of the stanza, as the Panthers cruised to a 25-14 victory. Paced by four kills apiece by freshmen Barnes and Freiberg, High Point outhit Liberty, .500 to .103.
The lead changed hands three times during the early stages of set two, before High Point took control with an extended 13-5 surge that turned an 8-7 deficit into a 20-13 advantage. The Lady Flames made a late run, pulling to within 23-19 on a block by Willey and McQuitery. However, the Panthers took advantage of two late Liberty attack errors to close out a 25-20 win.
Savannah Angel keyed High Point's set-two triumph with kills on all four of her swings and a pair of blocks. Vess contributed three kills and two aces for the Lady Flames.
Consecutive Hannah Weidner kills helped Liberty score the first three points of the third set. The Lady Flames never trailed during the stanza, and Vorster closed out a 25-21 victory with her fourth kill of set three.
McQuitery turned all five of her attacks into kills during the third set, contributing to the Lady Flames' .424 team attack percentage. Heldt chipped in five kills for the home team.
Vess got a 7-1 Liberty burst started with back-to-back kills, early on in the fourth set. The Lady Flames were on top for most of the stanza and owned a 23-20 edge before High Point closed out the match with five consecutive tallies. The match-closing surge featured two kills by Freiberg and an ace by Heldt on the clinching point of the Panthers' 25-23 win.
Vorster hit .750 with six more kills in the final set, while Heldt and Freiberg countered with four kills each for High Point.
Liberty will now travel to Buies Creek, N.C., for its final regular-season road match of 2014, set for Saturday at 4 p.m.