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UNCG Rallies for 3-2 Win Over Liberty
After Liberty took a 2-0 match lead, UNCG rallied to win the next three sets for a 3-2 (15-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-13) victory over Liberty, Friday at the North Carolina Central Tournament.
The Spartans move to 2-0 on the season, while the Lady Flames are 0-1 heading into their 6:30 match against North Carolina Central. Prior to Friday's setback, Liberty had won its last 11 five-set matches in a row.
For the match, UNCG hit .247, to .224 for Liberty, holding a slim, 63-62 lead in kills. The Lady Flames served up 13 aces, compared to two for the Spartans. UNCG outblocked Liberty, 7-3. Liberty's 13 aces were its most since totaling 18 aces against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 26, 2010.
Redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas, making her first career start, led all players with 19 kills, hitting .548. Lillie Happel recorded her 20th career double-double, with 15 kills and 16 digs. Jade Craycraft dished out 42 assists and added 13 digs.
For UNCG, Kerrian Chambers led with 17 kills, followed by Lauren Betlach with 16 kills. Kellie Orewiler paced all players with 24 digs, while Ari Lysacek totaled a match-high 44 assists to go with 12 digs.
The Lady Flames and Spartans traded rallies early in the opening set, before Liberty used a 12-5 rally to turn a 5-5 score into a 17-10 lead. Douglas, Loren Thomas, Happel and Craycraft tallied two kills apiece during Liberty's early surge. Happel served up the Lady Flames' fourth ace of the set to give the team a 20-11 lead. Craycraft sent down a kill for a 23-12 advantage, and Liberty won set one, 25-15.
Douglas sent down three kills during a 5-0 run that gave Liberty a quick 5-1 lead in set two. UNCG battled back into the lead at 10-9 on a kill by Lysacek that capped an 8-4 rally. Happel earned a pair of kills for the next two sideouts before the Spartans scored consecutive points for a 13-11 edge. Liberty regained the advantage with a pair of Happel kills that made it 17-15. The Lady Flames earned set point, 24-20, on an ace by Haraf. UNCG then notched three straight kills before Ansley Gebben recorded a kill for the winning point, at 25-23.
UNCG built an early 13-4 lead in the third set, on the strength of a 6-0 run. A Haley Jeffcoat ace narrowed the deficit to six, 13-7, and Liberty drew to within five at 15-10 on a UNCG miscue that capped a 6-2 Lady Flames' rally. Happel served up an ace to make it 20-14, drawing a UNCG timeout. Douglas and Rollins sent down back-to-back kills to close the gap to 20-17 with a five-point rally. A Spartans service error set the score at 22-20 before a pair of Betlach kills ended the set, a 25-21 UNCG win that extended the match to a fourth session.
The Lady Flames overcame a 6-2 deficit, tying set four at 9-9 on an attack error by UNCG. Douglas gave Liberty a 10-9 lead with a kill before the Spartans tied the score, 11-11 on a block. A pair of UNCG kills sent them ahead, 15-13, leading to a Liberty timeout. Gebben earned a kill out of the timeout before the Spartans extended their lead to 17-14. Liberty scored the next three points, as a Jeffcoat ace tied it at 17-all. A 3-0 UNCG rally gave the Spartans a 21-18 edge. Chambers made it 23-20 with a kill, and Douglas responded with a kill of her own, before UNCG held on for a 25-22 win.
After an early 3-1 edge by Liberty, UNCG staged a 4-0 run to take a 5-3 lead in the fifth set. Happel then made it 5-4 with a back-row kill. Morgan Freeman earned a kill for an 8-6 edge at the changeover. Sidney made a block to set the score at 10-6. A Kendle Rollins kill ended UNCG's three-point run, followed by a kill from Happel and an ace by Craycraft before Liberty tied it at 10-10. A Betlach kill, the second of six rally points, pushed the score to 11-10, UNCG. Olivia Humphries sent down a kill for match point, 14-13, and the Spartans won, 15-13, completing the comeback on a kill by Betlach.