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Record-Setting Hitting Fuels Flames' Sweep
Liberty totaled a program-record .484 hitting efficiency on the way to a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-11, 25-13) against The Citadel in both teams' final match at the Courtyard Midtown Invitational, hosted by N.C. State.
With the win, Liberty (5-8) took third place at the event, while The Citadel fell to 5-5 on the season, placing fourth.
The Lady Flames hit .484 while earning 50 kills on the afternoon, besting the previous program record of .483, which was set Sept. 5, 2008 vs. Saint Francis (Pa.). The Citadel hit .127 for the match Saturday.
Kendle Rollins posted a career-high 17 kills, attacking at a .727 efficiency, with just one error on 22 attempts. Rollins' Saturday attack percentage was second in Liberty's rally-scoring history to only an .875 outing by Ashley Webber Oct. 17, 2008 at Winthrop. Rollins was named to the all-tournament team for her standout play on the weekend.
Courtney Boggs notched her first double-double of the season, and seventh of her career, with season highs of 33 assists and 11 digs. Lillie Happel added 14 kills at a .400 pace, and also served up three aces.
Kelly Haseman entered eighth place all-time in Big South history, as she has now totaled 1,684 career digs after collecting 11 digs against the Bulldogs. She passed Gina Golkiewicz on UNC Asheville Saturday.
Liberty came out swinging during set one, with six players entering the kill column early. Happel's third kill gave the Lady Flames a 14-7 advantage. Kaona Mercer sent down a kill to draw the Bulldogs to within five, 14-9, yielding a timeout by Liberty. Kills by Amanda Rudnik and Alexa Dahlstrom made the score 14-11.
The Lady Flames extended their lead to 18-13 on a block by Ansley Gebben and Rollins. A Becca Haraf ace sealed Liberty's 25-15 set one win, as the victors ended the set on a 9-2 run.
Liberty hit .419 in set one, led by a 5-for-7 attacking performance by Rollins and 5-for-9 from Happel. The Bulldogs attacked at a .121 clip, getting three kills from Rachael Farrell.
Rollins scored four kills during a six-serve span to help Liberty build a 10-3 lead early in set two. The Lady Flames drove the lead to eight, 14-6, following kills from Happel and Melissa Racz, drawing a timeout from the Bulldogs' head coach, Amir Khaledi. Liberty rolled to the finish, closing the set on a 13-5 rally for a 25-11 set-two win and 2-0 match lead.
The Lady Flames posted 16 kills at a .583 pace in set two, compared with nine kills at .067 for The Citadel. Rollins added seven kills in the second set, and Happel tallied five winners. Farrell matched her first-set total with three kills during set two.
Set three opened with Liberty earning kills for its first 12 points in claiming a 12-7 edge. Happel added two aces sandwiched around a block by Gebben, Thomas and Racz, good for a 15-7 lead. The Lady Flames continued to pull away, as their lead grew to 11 at 18-7 following an 8-0 rally. Erica Manor sent down a kill to set the score at 22-9. Rollins gave Liberty a match-point chance at 24-12 with her 17th kill of the match. Happel then ended the set, 25-13, with a kill to finalize the sweep.
Liberty posted a .474 attack percentage in earning 19 kills during the third set, while The Citadel hit .179 with 11 kills. Gebben and Rollins both registered five kills in set three.
The Lady Flames registered 49 digs on the evening, with Gebben adding nine digs to the double-digit totals of Boggs and Haseman. Thomas, Racz, and Gebben joined Rollins with two block assists apiece. Boggs has now registered double-doubles in three out of her four seasons at Liberty.
Farrell led The Citadel with 10 kills, hitting .348. Kathryn Johnston posted a team-best 11 digs for the Bulldogs.
Liberty returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for a pair of in-state road clashes. The Lady Flames compete at James Madison Tuesday before opening the Big South schedule Friday at Radford. Both of next week's matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The Citadel next plays host to Francis Marion Tuesday at 6 p.m.