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Liberty Sweeps Radford in Conference Opener
|Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 18 digs on Friday against Radford.|
Liberty held off Radford, 27-25, during set one and pulled away for a 3-0 sweep (27-25, 25-15, 25-22) of the visiting Highlanders in both teams' Big South opener, Friday at the Vines Center.
Friday's contest was a rematch of the 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship final, which Liberty also won, 3-0. The Lady Flames are now 10-4, 1-0 in conference play, having won each of their last 15 conference home matches and eight Big South openers in a row. Radford falls to 8-8, 0-1 in the Big South.
For the match, Liberty recorded 44 kills at a .257 pace and eight aces. The Lady Flames had 53 digs to Radford's 46, and outblocked the Highlanders, 7-6. Radford hit .192 in sending down 34 kills.
Caroline Douglas led the Lady Flames with 13 kills, while Ansley Gebben chipped in 12 kills and nine digs. Jade Craycraft dished out a match-high 31 assists in addition to eight kills and seven digs. Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 18 digs, while Kendle Rollins paced all players with four blocks.
Emily Carlin fashioned a double-double for Radford, with 11 kills and 10 digs. Christine Beckham finished with a team-high 20 assists, and Katelyn Meeks had 13 digs.
The Lady Flames won a back-and-forth first set, 27-25, one which featured 10 ties and five lead changes. Liberty's lead stood at 23-19 following consecutive kills by Douglas, before three Liberty miscues brought Radford to within one point. Trailing, 24-22, Radford fought off a pair of set-point tries to tie the score. Gebben later sent down back-to-back kills to seal the 27-25 set-one win.
Gebben had a standout first set, with eight kills and four digs, while Carlin had five kills for Radford. The Lady Flames hit .250 in set one, while Radford attacked at a .308 clip.
Liberty led from start to finish in taking set two, 25-15. The Lady Flames scored the first six points of the set while Gebben served, and never looked back, outhitting Radford, .348 to -.037 during the middle stanza. Douglas led Liberty with five kills in the second set, and the Lady Flames' four blocks helped stymie the Highlanders.
The teams played evenly throughout a majority of set three, as the teams battled to a 15-15 tie after 30 serves. The Lady Flames staged a 7-3 rally to take a 22-18 lead, capped by a Douglas kill. Carlin recorded two kills during a 4-0 Radford run that leveled the score at 22-all. Liberty tallied the final three points of the match, including a Rollins-Craycraft block and a kill by Craycraft.
Craycraft and Douglas both recorded four kills during set four, while Carlin had four kills as well for the Highlanders. Radford hit .237 in the final frame, compared to .214 for the Lady Flames.
Liberty steps outside of conference play to host James Madison on Tuesday night, with the opening serve scheduled for 7 p.m.