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No. 4 Seed Liberty Holds Off No. 5 Seed UNC Asheville, 3-1 in Quarterfinal

November 21, 2013
|  Clinton, S.C.
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The Liberty volleyball team opened the 2013 Big South Volleyball Championship with a 3-1 win over UNC Asheville i the quarterfinal round, Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Liberty volleyball team began its title defense with a 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21) victory over No. 5 seed UNC Asheville, in Thursday's second quarterfinal at the 2013 Big South Volleyball Championship.

With the win, its fourth in a row, Liberty (11-17) advances to the semifinals, where the Lady Flames will face No. 1 seed Radford at 4:30 p.m., tomorrow at the Paul Porter Arena. Liberty and Radford split a pair of matches this season, with the home team winning each time.

Asheville ends its season with a 17-14 record, falling to Liberty for the third time this season.

For the match, Liberty outhit Asheville, .225-.184, while leading, 11-7, in blocks and 78-70, in digs. The Bulldogs held an 8-4 advantage in aces.

Liberty redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas led all players with a season-high 17 kills, followed by 11 kills (.474) from redshirt senior Kendle Rollins. Senior Lillie Happel recorded nine kills and 15 digs, giving her 993 career digs. Senior Jade Craycraft contributed eight kills, a season-high 43 assists and 18 digs. On the defensive side, junior Gabrielle Shipe collected 19 digs, senior Becca Haraf had 11 digs and freshman Nzea McQuitery tied her career high with seven blocks. McQuitery's seven blocks are tied for the most ever by a Lady Flame in a Big South postseason match.

Anna Moore scored a team-best 16 kills for UNC Asheville, while Christine Lakatos recorded 13 kills and 11 digs. Katie Davis dished out 43 assists and added 10 digs, while Rachel Wells totaled match highs with 20 digs and three aces. Madison Vaughn chipped in with four blocks.

The Lady Flames quickly erased a 5-0 set-one deficit. Liberty outscored the Bulldogs, 24-10, over the next 34 serves, with a Craycraft kill making it 24-15. Asheville scored the next four points, including a pair of Foster kills. Rollins then ended the set with a kill.

Liberty outhit the Bulldogs, .186-125 in the first set, with the Lady Flames posting four blocks. Craycraft led the Lady Flames with four kills, while Moore and Foster both had four kills for Asheville.

UNC Asheville capitalized on a fast start during the second set, jumping out to a 7-3 lead on the way to a 25-17 victory to tie the match. The Bulldogs staged a 5-0 run, extending its lead to eight, 16-8, and Asheville held a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

During the second set, Asheville hit .290, compared to .114 for the Lady Flames. Three different Bulldogs scored three kills apiece, while Douglas and Happel recorded three kills each.

Set three went back and forth, with 11 ties and five lead changes. Liberty led, 20-17, after a kill from Happel, before the Bulldogs scored the next four points. Wells gave Asheville a 21-20 lead with an ace. Following a pair of rally points, Douglas scored a kill to spark Liberty's set-closing, 4-0 run, as the Lady Flames took a 2-1 match lead.

Liberty attacked at a .382 pace in set three, while Asheville countered with a .273 attack percentage. Moore and Douglas both sent down six kills in the third stanza, while McQuitery totaled three blocks.

The Lady Flames held a 22-18 set-four advantage after Happel sent down a kill. Facing elimination, Asheville scored the next three points, with a kill from Moore slicing the deficit to one, 22-21. Following a Bulldogs' service error, McQuitery posted a block assist and a kill to clinch the match victory.

Douglas and Rollins both contributed five kills for Liberty in set four, as the Lady Flames held a .231-.109 edge in hitting percentage.