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Towson Surges for 3-1 Win Over Liberty
Liberty won set one against Towson, but the Tigers claimed the remaining three sets for a 3-1 win (23-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-18) over the Lady Flames Saturday inside N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum.
Towson (12-3) improves to 2-0 at the Courtyard Midtown Invitational, while the Lady Flames (4-8) have gone 0-2 so far at the event. Saturday's match was the first Liberty-Towson matchup since the Tigers left the Big South following the 1994 season.
Despite 11 blocks by Liberty, TU earned 63 kills with a .225 attack percentage. Liberty hit .173 in sending down 44 kills.
Lillie Happel registered 13 kills and 10 digs for her second double-double of the season and added a season-high four aces. Loren Thomas hit .524 while earning a season-best 11 kills. Towson's Katy Buck posted a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs.
Liberty claimed a quick 7-2 lead, as Thomas earned a pair of kills and Towson committed four attack errors. The Tigers fought back to take the lead at 12-11 with a 5-0 run that included two kills by Dayane Van Ass. The Lady Flames surged ahead by four, 17-13, thanks to kills by Kendle Rollins and Thomas and two Tigers miscues.
Happel served up three aces in four serves to give Liberty a 23-16 edge. Thomas posted a solo block for Liberty's 24-19 lead. A pair of Towson kills prompted a Liberty timeout. Kirven picked up a kill to slice the deficit to one, 24-23. Ansley Gebben then clinched the set for Liberty at 25-23 by sending down a cross-court kill.
The Lady Flames hit .216 during set one and also posted three team blocks in holding Towson to a .116 attack efficiency. Happel posted four kills to lead Liberty, while Susan Gansor and Buck each registered four kills for the Tigers.
Towson reversed the story to open set two, building an 8-2 advantage on the strength of three I'ishah Keliikova kills and two team blocks. Trailing 15-10, the Lady Flames scored the ensuing five points, and Happel's third kill in a row drew the set even at 15-15. Happel notched a kill on Towson's serve, and then tallied an ace for a 17-16 Liberty lead.
A pair of Towson errors made the score 20-17 in Liberty's favor. The Tigers went ahead, 22-20, with a 5-0 rally, forcing Pinder to call both timeouts. Gebben came through with a kills and block assist to tie it up at 22-all. Rollins earned a kill and then assisted on a block with Jade Craycraft for a set-point chance. Towson scored the next two points for a 25-24 lead, and Buck converted a kill to give Towson a 27-25 set two win to tie the match.
Liberty totaled seven team blocks during the second set, including four block assists from Rollins. Happel registered six set-two kills to go with four aces during the session.
The Tigers doubled Liberty's score through the initial 15 serves of the third set, and stormed to a 13-7 lead by out-hitting the Lady Flames, .438 to .000. Following a Liberty timeout, Gebben and Rollins posted kills to pull to within five, 15-10. Towson extended its advantage to 18-11, yielding a second timeout by Pinder. TU maintained its advantage on the way to a 25-17 set three win.
Towson hit .483 during set three, with Liberty attacking at a .121 pace. Buck and Alysha McCreary netted five kills apiece, and Thomas posted for kills for Liberty.
As in set three, the Tigers took a 10-5 lead to open the fourth stanza, with Keliikova posting two kills and McCreary notching a solo block. A kill by Van Ass capped a 4-0 rally for an 11-5 score, prompting a Liberty timeout. Towson led, 18-10 before a Gebben kill sparked a four-point Liberty run, and Kelly Haseman's second ace made it 18-14.
The two teams traded rally points, and Liberty trailed 22-18 after a Rollins kill. Buck tallied a kill for a set-point opportunity which Towson converted for a 25-18 win to clinch the match, 3-1.
During set four, Towson hit .273 and Liberty checked in at .139. The Tigers added three team blocks.
Liberty registered 49 digs in the match, led by 18 from Haseman. Haseman also added two of the Lady Flames' seven aces. Rollins netted eight kills and added six blocks (one solo, five assists). Craycraft dished out 25 assists along with a season-high-tying four block assists.
Four Tigers registered double-digit kills totals, while five Towson players reached double-figures in digs. Paige Sekerak collected a team-best 16 digs, helping the Tigers to 67 digs. Aubrey Kirven led all players with 47 assists.
The Lady Flames compete against Citadel Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to wrap up their time in Raleigh. Towson closes out the Courtyard Midtown Invitational with a 7:30 p.m. match against the host Wolfpack.