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Green Bay Downs Liberty in Straight Sets
The Green Bay volleyball team posted a three-set sweep, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-20) of Liberty, Saturday, to close out both teams' stays at the NIU Invitational.
The Lady Flames are now 0-3 on the season after opening the campaign with setbacks to No. 23 Ohio State, Northern Illinois and Green Bay. The Phoenix (1-2) picked up its first win of 2013, after nearly upsetting the Buckeyes earlier today.
Liberty's Gabrielle Shipe was named to the NIU Invitational All-Tournament team, averaging 5.22 digs per set on the weekend.
Green Bay outhit Liberty, .158 to .115, and held a slight 52-49 edge in digs. The Lady Flames posted eight blocks for the third match in a row, compared to five for the Phoenix.
Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins sent down 10 kills at a .600 pace for Liberty, while adding four blocks. Rollins is now tied for seventh all-time at Liberty with 318 career blocks (Ashley Webber, 2005-08). Junior Shipe led the Lady Flames with a season-high 20 digs. Senior Jade Craycraft contributed 20 assists, four blocks and six kills.
Green Bay senior Leah Van Zeeland registered a match-high 17 kills to go with 11 digs. Sophomore Emily Riese dished out 37 assists along with two aces, and sophomore Jillian Bauer led all players with 21 digs.
The Phoenix pulled out to an 18-12 lead, on Van Zeeland's sixth kill of the opening set. The Lady Flames then scored the next five points, as consecutive kills from Rollins drew Liberty to within one, 18-17. The Phoenix gained set point, 24-21, on a Liberty error. Liberty then extended the set with back-to-back rally wins, capped by a Rollins kill, before Green Bay gained its 25th point on a Liberty error.
Green Bay hit .217 during set one, while Liberty attacked at a .190 clip. Van Zeeland registered 10 first-set kills, while Rollins answered with five kills and two blocks for the Lady Flames.
The Lady Flames battled back from an early 10-2 deficit in the second set, drawing to within two, 14-16, when Craycraft capped a three-point run with an ace. Liberty trailed, 18-16, after a combo block from Rollins and Jeffcoat. Green Bay then staged a 6-2 rally, getting aces from Mikaela Gunderson and Riese on the way to set point, 24-18. Racz posted a block in helping Liberty stave off set point, but a Liberty miscue ended set two, 25-21, in Green Bay's favor.
Both teams hit for low percentages during set two, with Liberty checking in at .033 and Green Bay hitting -.029. Liberty recorded four set-two blocks, including two from Jeffcoat. Grunderson had five kills during the stanza.
Set three remained close through its middle stages, with junior Melissa Racz serving up an ace for a 15-15 tie. Green Bay then went on a 9-2 rally to gain match-point attempts at 24-17. Nzea McQuitery sent down her third kill of the set, extending the match. A Craycraft-Rollins block made it 24-20, but Green Bay then clinched the match when Van Zeeland scored her sixth set-three kill.
Liberty returns home, and will host Georgetown of the BIG EAST on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Vines Center. This will be the Lady Flames' only home match in September, as they play 13 out of their first 14 matches away from Lynchburg this season.