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Lady Flames Earn 3-0 Sweep at Gardner-Webb in Regular-Season Finale
The Liberty volleyball team closed out its 2013 regular-season schedule with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-19) victory at Gardner-Webb, Saturday inside the Paul Porter Arena.
With the win, Liberty's third in a row, the Lady Flames (10-17, 9-5) finish the regular season tied with High Point for third place in the Big South standings. Gardner-Webb falls to 15-17, 6-8 in conference play, taking the eighth seed for the 2013 Big South Volleyball Championship.
Due to head-to-head tiebreakers, Liberty will be the fourth seed in the conference tournament, and will meet No. 5 seed UNC Asheville, on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the Big South Volleyball Championship quarterfinal.
Liberty hit .252 for the match, compared to .131 for the Runnin' Bulldogs. The Lady Flames outblocked Gardner-Webb, 6-3, while holding a 59-54 edge in digs. The Runnin' Bulldogs recorded six aces, while Liberty served up three aces.
Liberty redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas recorded 12 kills and nine digs, while junior Melissa Racz added seven kills. Senior Jade Craycraft registered six kills, 32 assists, 13 digs and three blocks. Seniors Lillie Happel and Becca Haraf collected 11 digs apiece, while Gabrielle Shipe totaled nine digs.
Erin Anderson led the Runnin' Bulldogs with 12 kills, while Emily Holte followed with nine kills. Heather Feldman recorded a double-double with 33 assists and 11 digs, while Anna Pashkova contributed a match-high 18 digs.
The Lady Flames led set one from start to finish, taking a 1-0 match lead with a 25-17 victory. The guests held a slim, 12-11 edge, before staging a 7-1 rally that featured three Douglas kills. The Lady Flames then held off the Runnin' Bulldogs for the rest of the set. Liberty outhit Gardner-Webb, .417-.128, during the opening frame. Douglas and Anderson matched each other with six kills apiece, while Brianna Starr served up a pair of aces.
Set two proved to be the closest stanza of the match, with eight ties and five lead changes. The Runnin' Bulldogs held an 18-17 lead after a Starr kill, but the Lady Flames scored on seven out of the next eight serves. McQuitery gave Liberty set point, 24-19, capping a 5-0 run with a kill. Garder-Webb fought off two set-point tries, but a kill from Racz ended the set.
Gardner-Webb held a slight .106-.105 edge in hitting percentage during the second frame. Anderson scored five set-two kills, while Racz recorded four kills.
The Lady Flames and Runnin' Bulldogs went back and forth in the third set, and Liberty led by one, 19-18, after a service error. Liberty outscored Gardner-Webb, 6-1, down the stretch, securing the sweep with a 25-19 set-three victory. A Craycraft-Rollins block sealed the final score.
Liberty outhit the Runnin' Bulldogs, .243-.167, during the final set, with Douglas' five kills leading all players.
With the 2013 regular season at its conclusion, official seeding for the 2013 Big South Volleyball Championship will be released later this evening. This year's Big South Volleyball Championship will be hosted by Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., Nov. 21-24, with the final aired live on ESPN3.