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Lady Flames Fall In Five
Liberty fell to UNC Asheville, 3-2 (30-21, 26-30, 30-21, 24-30, 11-15) in Big South volleyball action this evening in the Vines Center.
Liberty (6-13, 2-4 Big South) opened up a 14-8 lead early on as Jessica Nelson (So., Tokyo, Japan) blocked an attack by Rose Butler. The Lady Flames were able to stretched that lead to nine (24-15) and cruise to a game one victory, 30-21.
Both teams got off to a hot hitting night as the Lady Flames hit .643 in the first game and recorded 20 kills, while the Bulldogs (15-4, 4-2 Big South) hit .400.
In game two neither team could take the lead early on as a Butler kill knotted things up at 10 apiece. Both teams continued to battle back-and-forth and an Autum Poorman (Sr., Mingoville, Pa.) kill tied it back up at 18. UNC Asheville reeled off a 6-2 run to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game and secure a game two victory, 30-26.
Game three was much like the second as both teams were tied at 10 after an Amanda Wiles kill. Liberty opened things up as Lara Bartolomeo (So., Huntington Beach, Calif.) capped off a 10-4 run and gave the Lady Flames a 20-14 lead, which would prove to be enough as they would go up two games to one with a, 30-21, victory.
Liberty looked to close things out in game four, but it was the Bulldogs that jumped out to a 15-11 lead on an attack error by Nelson. The Lady Flames pulled to within one when Nelson redeemed herself with a kill; however, that would be as close as they'd get as UNC Asheville pushed the match to a deciding game five with a, 30-24, victory.
Once again it was the Bulldogs that got out to an early lead as Allison Lambert gave UNC Asheville a 10-5 lead with a kill. The Lady Flames would get to within three, but that's as close as they'd come as the Bulldogs took game five and the match.
"I thought our kids played hard and did a lot of good things," remarked head coach Shane Pinder. "We didn't execute on some key plays and with a young team we have to learn to close games out."
Liberty collected a season-high 79 kills on the night to go along with 10 total team blocks. The Lady Flames hurt themselves with the serve as they tallied 14 service errors and had 32 attacks errors.
Pacing Liberty was Bartolomeo who collected a career-high 65 assists and had 19 digs for her third consecutive double-double. Reigning Big South Freshman of the Week, Kendall Nichols (Fr., Hoover, Ala.), tallied her 10th double-double on the year with 21 kills and 20 digs. Nelson recorded 20 kills for the second time in three matches as she had 21 kills and 13 digs.
For UNC Asheville, Wiles led the way with 55 assists and eight kills, while hitting .421 on the night. Elif Unlu posted a double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs. Butler had a team-high 16 kills and Krysti Havens collected a match-high 22 digs.
The Lady Flames will return to action tomorrow afternoon as they host the Panthers of Birmingham-Southern at 2 p.m. in the Vines Center.