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High Point Edges Liberty, 3-2, in Vines Center
High Point won the first, third and fifth sets, pulling out a 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 25-17, 14-25, 15-7) road victory over Liberty in front of 1,025 fans, Friday at the Vines Center.
With the win, High Point improves to 13-13 on the season, including 7-4 in Big South play. Liberty, playing its third five-set match in a row, is now 7-17, with a 6-5 conference record. The Panthers and Lady Flames entered the match in a four-way tie for third place in the Big South.
For the match, Liberty outhit High Point, .164-.146, while the Lady Flames set a season high with 17 blocks, their most since a 17-block outburst, Oct. 21, 2011 at Winthrop. High Point recorded 11 blocks, and the visitors led, 87-76, in digs, and 6-2 in aces.
Liberty senior Jade Craycraft recorded her second triple-double in a row, and fifth of the season, with 10 kills, 32 assists and 13 digs. Redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas led Liberty with 14 kills and added 13 digs for her first career double-double, to go with six blocks.
Junior Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 31 digs, the most by a Lady Flame since Kelly Haseman recorded 35 digs on Nov. 13, 2010 vs. UNC Asheville. Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins posted a career-high 11 blocks, giving her 405 career blocks, while freshman Nzea McQuitery scored a career-best 13 kills.
Chelsea Davis sent down a match-high 17 kills for High Point, in addition to 12 digs and three aces. Kristin Heldt registered 15 kills and 16 digs, while Maddie Simpson checked in with 40 assists and 16 digs. Annemarie Chin collected 26 digs, while three Panthers recorded four blocks apiece.
The Panthers led set one from 2-1 on, winning, 25-20, despite 5.5 blocks from the Lady Flames. High Point led by as many as eight points, 18-10, before Liberty fought back. A Liberty triple block made it 22-20, High Point, but Davis cashed in two kills, helping seal the first set. Davis and Liberty's McQuitery both sent down four set-one kills, while Rollins posted four block assists.
Liberty responded with a 25-17 set-two victory, holding the Panthers to a -.023 hitting percentage while registering 6.5 team blocks. The second stanza remained tightly contested until the Lady Flames reeled off a 9-0 rally to make it 22-12, with eight straight points coming while Douglas served. Davis and Happel both recorded four kills during set two, while Rollins had five block assists.
High Point bounced back in the third session, outhitting the Lady Flames, .298-.152 during their 25-17 victory. The visitors led, 19-10, after a kill from Michelle Chakirelis. Liberty pulled to within six, 22-16, on a Craycraft kill, before High Point pulled away. Davis and Heldt added four kills each during set three, while Davis served up two aces.
The Lady Flames used a .333 hitting performance to run away with set four, 25-14, and send the match to a fifth set. Douglas and High Point's Heldt matched each other with four kills apiece, while Douglas added two block assists. For the set, Liberty held the Panthers to a .049 attack percentage, posting 2.5 blocks and two aces.
High Point broke open the final set with an 8-0 run, building an 11-3 advantage after back-to-back Megan Kennedy kills. McQuitery sent down a kill to end Liberty's scoreless stretch, but High Point pulled out set five, 15-7, clinching the match.
The visitors hit .467 during the fifth set, with four Panthers recording two kills each. Liberty attacked at a .048 pace, led by two kills from Douglas.
The Lady Flames conclude their 2013 home schedule tomorrow, hosting Campbell at 1 p.m. Liberty will honor its volleyball seniors – student manager Logan Shackelford, Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel, Becca Haraf and Kendle Rollins – with a ceremony prior to tomorrow's match.