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Hokies Rally for 3-1 Win Over Lady Flames
After splitting the first two sets, Virginia Tech rallied to down Liberty, 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23) on Saturday at the Marriott Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville.
With the win, Virginia Tech (8-3) claims the title at the invitational, as the Hokies swept host Virginia on Friday night. Liberty is now 8-3 on the season heading into tonight's meeting with Virginia.
For the match, Liberty posted 10.5 team blocks, compared to four for the Hokies. Virginia Tech outpaced Liberty in both kills and digs, while hitting .309 to .234 for the Lady Flames.
Loren Thomas and Caroline Douglas both recorded 14 kills, with Thomas hitting a season-best .611. Jade Craycraft dished out 41 assists in addition to seven kills and eight digs. Gabrielle Shipe collected a team-high 13 digs, while Ansley Gebben posted five blocks and Becca Haraf added 11 digs.
Samantha Gostling led all players with 21 kills and added 10 digs for a double-double. Cara Baarendse hit .750 on 12-for-16 attacks, while Jennifer Wiker had 13 kills. Jordan Fish recorded a match-high 57 assists for Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech took a 14-8 lead midway through the first set. The Lady Flames then battled back to within four, 18-14, getting a pair of kills from Kendle Rollins during a 5-2 rally. Liberty posted a triple block to make it 23-19, but the Hokies closed to the finish with a 25-20 set-one victory.
The Hokies hit .333 during the opening set, while Liberty attacked at a .133 clip. The Lady Flames committed five service errors. Thomas and Virginia Tech's Gostling both sent down four kills in set one.
Thomas registered three kills in a row to set Liberty's lead at five, 13-8, during set two. After Virginia Tech scored at 13-9, the Lady Flames boosted their lead to 18-11 when Rollins sent down a kill. Trailing, 22-15, Virginia Tech went on a 4-0 run trim the deficit to three. Craycraft scored a kill to give Liberty set-point tries at 24-20, and Douglas gave the Lady Flames a 25-21 victory with a kill.
Liberty connected for a .433 attack percentage in scoring 16 kills during set two, compared to .333 for the Hokies. Craycraft and Thomas both had four kills, while Gostling and Wiker recorded five kills apiece.
The Hokies claimed a 2-1 match lead with a 25-16 victory in set three. Virginia Tech quickly gained the momentum, doubling Liberty's score at 20-10. The Lady Flames got a pair of late kills from Thomas and one from Douglas, but Virginia Tech clinched the set with consecutive points at the end.
Douglas, Thomas and Virginia Tech's Gostling all had five kills during set three, while the Hokies outhit the Lady Flames, .405 to .182.
Set four remained tight throughout. Following 12 consecutive sideouts, a Wiker kill pushed Virginia Tech's lead to 20-18. The Lady Flames rallied to tie the score at 21-all, and then Virginia Tech went on a 3-1 run with three kills to earn match point, 24-22. Gostling then recorded the match-clinching kill at 25-23.
Liberty posted six blocks in the fourth set, holding Virginia Tech to a .190 attack percentage during the final stanza.
The Lady Flames compete against the host Virginia Cavaliers at 7 p.m. tonight to conclude the Marriott Cavalier Classic.