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Lady Flames Fall to UNC Asheville in Straight Sets
UNC Asheville hit .280 as a team during a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-20) victory over host Liberty on Friday at the Vines Center.
With the win, its third in the last four matches, UNC Asheville improves to 8-21, including 4-9 in Big South play. The Lady Flames' record stands at 22-9, 9-4 in conference matches following its fourth loss in a row. The Bulldogs snapped a five-match losing streak in the series with Liberty, last downing the Lady Flames on Sept. 29, 2012 at the Justice Center.
Liberty carried an eight match home winning streak into Friday's match, dating to Sept. 6 against UNCG, while also having won its last six conference home matches in a row.
The Bulldogs outhit Liberty, .280-.062, for the match. UNC Asheville led, 7-2 in aces, 39-36 in digs and 8-7.5 in blocks.
Junior Jade Vorster led the Lady Flames with 12 kills at a .579 pace. Sophomore Nzea McQuitery posted a team-best four blocks, while junior Caila Stapleton totaled 19 assists and seven digs. Senior Gabrielle Shipe's eight digs paced Liberty's back-row defense.
UNC Asheville junior Christine Lakatos tied Vorster for the match high with 12 kills. Sophomore Shelby Erickson recorded nine kills and a match-high six service aces. Junior Katie Davis dished out 27 assists, while classmate Bryn Pfeiffer collected 17 digs and freshman Katie Creger posted five blocks.
Liberty trailed set one, 15-13, following Vorster's fourth kill. The visitors then staged an 8-2 rally, capped by a Davis kill that made the score, 23-15, Bulldogs. After being down, 24-15, the Lady Flames reeled off three straight points before Erickson clinched the set with a kill.
The Bulldogs scored 15 kills during the opening session, hitting .375 compared to a .033 percentage for Liberty. Erickson led all players with five kills in set one.
UNC Asheville pulled away late for a 25-15 set-two victory and 2-0 match lead. Liberty tied the set, 13-13, on a triple block, before Lakatos scored six kills during a 12-2 surge to the finish. The Bulldogs outhit Liberty, .182 to -.032, despite the Lady Flames posting 4.5 blocks. Lakatos recorded six kills, while Erickson served up three aces. McQuitery and Vorster both registered three blocks.
Liberty took an early 12-10 lead in the final stanza, on a kill from Vorster. Davis sent down two kills, sparking UNC Asheville on an 8-2 run into the lead, 18-14. The Lady Flames twice drew to within two, at 18-16 and 20-18. However, the visitors closed out the sweep, outscoring Liberty, 5-2 down the stretch to win 25-20.
The visitors hit .286 in set three, compared to .167 for the Lady Flames. Vorster scored five kills, while teammates Vess and Haley Jeffcoat totaled four kills each.
The Lady Flames conclude the regular-season portion of their 2014 schedule tomorrow, hosting Gardner-Webb at 1 p.m. at the Vines Center. Prior to the match, Liberty will honor its two seniors, Melissa Racz and Gabrielle Shipe, with a Senior Day ceremony.