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Lady Flames Sweep Conference Opener, 3-0
The Liberty Lady Flames hit .397 and held the Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb to a .101 attack percentage, leading to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-9, 25-15) victory, Friday night, in Liberty's 2010 Big South Conference opener.
The .397 hitting percentage marked the highest mark this season by the Lady Flames.
Liberty freshmen Kendle Rollins, Lillie Happel and Erica Manor each recorded over a .500 hitting percentage for the match.
With the victory, the Lady Flames improve to 10-6 overall and 1-0 in the Big South, while Gardner-Webb drops to 4-11 overall and 0-2 in Big South play. Liberty has now won six consecutive Big South openers on the volleyball hardwood.
Liberty took a quick 5-1 lead in the opening set, with Manor at the service line for three of those points. Gardner-Webb committed several errors, and a solo block by Karyl Bacon pushed the score to 9-4 in Liberty's favor.
The Lady Flames maintained control, and a Rollins service ace extended the score to 16-10. Bulldogs head coach Chris Phillips called for a Gardner-Webb timeout when another Bulldogs miscue gave Liberty a 20-13 advantage.
Gardner-Webb came back and won three straight points for a 20-16 score, and Liberty Head Coach Shane Pinder called a timeout of his own.
The Lady Flames came back fired up, winning four straight points for a set point. A service ace by Jade Craycraft sealed the 25-16 set 1 win.
Liberty tallied a dominating .417 attack percentage in the opening set, and held Gardner-Webb to .160. Bacon led Liberty with four kills, while Manor added three kills and two solo blocks. Melissa Richie paced the Bulldogs, recording four kills.
The Lady Flames didn't let up in the second set, jumping out to a commanding 8-0 lead behind the serving of Craycraft. Gardner-Webb won its first point of the set on a kill by Richie for an 8-1 score.
Liberty continued to dominate, and a block by Loren Thomas gave the Lady Flames its biggest advantage of the night up to that point, 14-2.
Liberty continued its run, leading by as many as 15 points at 22-7. The Bulldogs never recovered from that deficit, and on set point, a key dig by Courtney Boggs plus a Bacon kill gave the Lady Flames the 25-9 victory. It was the first time this season the Lady Flames have held an opponent to single digits.
Manor led all players with four kills in the set, while Rollins hit .750 with three kills.
Richie and Molly Rhyne led Gardner-Webb with two kills apiece.
The beginning of the third set mirrored the second, as the Lady Flames quickly gained a 9-1 advantage.
The Bulldogs did go on a run of their own, as two straight Gardner-Webb kills brought the score to 15-8. But
Liberty stayed in command, prompting the Bulldogs to call a timeout when the score reached 21-12.
A Rollins kill set up match point for the Lady Flames, and a subsequent Rollins ace sealed the 25-15 third set win, and the 3-0 match triumph.
Rollins and Bacon paced Liberty in the final set, recording four kills apiece. Craycraft notched 10 assists.
Richie and Rhyne again led the Bulldogs, contributing two kills each.
For the match, Manor recorded a .667 attack percentage and eight kills, while Rollins hit .538 with nine kills. Bacon led all players with 11 kills, while Happel had eight kills on the night. In addition, Craycraft put up 29 assists and libero Kelly Haseman paced all players in the match with 11 digs.
Bacon has now tallied over 900 career kills, as she now sits at 906.
As a team, the Lady Flames recorded eight total blocks on the night.
Richie led the Bulldogs with eight kills, while Evan Moffitt recorded 20 assists.
The Lady Flames are back in action tomorrow night in Clinton, S.C., facing off against Big South opponent Presbyterian College at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs continue conference play on Tuesday at home, also squaring off against the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College.