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Lady Flames Serve Up 3-0 Win over Bulldogs
The Liberty Lady Flames continued their hot streak at the service line, recording a season-high 18 aces in a 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-10) sweep over Gardner-Webb, Saturday afternoon, at the Vines Center.
The feat marks the most aces recorded by a Liberty squad since Sept. 13, 2002, when the Lady Flames blasted 21 aces in a 3-0 sweep over Delaware State at the Vines Center.
Four Lady Flames recorded three or more aces, and the team was paced by Lillie Happel, who posted a career-high six unanswered serves. Kendle Rollins, Karyl Bacon and Jade Craycraft added three apiece, while Kelly Haseman contributed two and Hannah Anderson posted one.
Happel's six aces were the most by a Lady Flame since Kallie Corbin posted nine against Navy on Sept. 15, 2006.
The Lady Flames improve to 19-7 overall and 10-1 in Big South Conference play. Today's win also marks Liberty's seventh-straight win, which is the longest winning streak since the Lady Flames won the first eight matches of the 2008 season.
Gardner-Webb drops to 5-19 overall and 0-9 in the conference.
Liberty dominated play throughout the match, holding the Bulldogs to a negative attack percentage for the first and third sets, while posting a .277 hitting percentage of its own.
The Lady Flames coasted through the opening frame, moving to a 20-10 lead as Craycraft and Bacon each served for three consecutive points, followed by Haseman's seven-point appearance at the service line.
Liberty sealed the 25-11 win on a service ace by Rollins, the seventh Liberty ace of the set.
Rollins hit .667 with four kills to pace Liberty, while Bacon added three kills and Happel and Anderson contributed two apiece. The Bulldogs were led by reigning Big South Freshman of the Week Tyler Cockrell, who put down three kills.
Gardner-Webb improved in the second set, hitting over .100 with three kills from both Cockrell and Molly Rhyne. But the Lady Flames outdid them, hitting .235 with 16 total kills.
Overall, the second frame was closer, with six tie scores and five lead changes. But, down 5-7, the Lady Flames scored five straight points for a 10-7 lead, and never looked back.
Gardner-Webb was able to shrug off a set point thanks to a Cockrell kill, but a subsequent attack error by Rhyne gave Liberty the 25-20 win.
Apart from Cockrell and Rhyne, Lauren Evans and Laura Wilcox added one kill apiece.
Bacon and Happel each posted four kills, followed by Rollins with three and Hannah Anderson and Loren Thomas with two each.
Liberty emerged from the locker room confidently, jumping to a commanding 13-3 lead in set three. The Bulldogs only mustered a -.087 attack percentage, and the Lady Flames rolled to a 25-10 win, backed by seven more aces.
Wilcox led the Gardner-Webb effort with two kills in the final set, while Bacon and Thomas each notched three kills for Liberty.
Overall, Bacon led all players with 10 kills, followed by Rollins and Happel with eight kills apiece. Craycraft was the leading setter with 31 assists, and Haseman led all players with 16 digs.
Cockrell's seven kills led the Bulldogs, while Evan Moffitt tallied 17 assists. Wilcox recorded the team's only service ace of the match.
The Lady Flames will now go back on the road for the next four contests, starting with a matchup against Charleston Southern on Friday at 7 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.
Gardner-Webb plays again on Tuesday against Presbyterian College at 5 p.m. in Clinton, S.C.