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Lady Flames Post Straight-Sets Win Over JMU

September 25, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty volleyball team won a tight, 26-24, first set and led throughout the final two sets in sweeping James Madison (26-24, 25-21, 25-23), Tuesday at the Vines Center.

With the win, Liberty's third in a row overall and eighth straight home victory, the Lady Flames advance to 11-4 on the season. James Madison is now 8-7 during the campaign, having gone 7-2 in its last nine contests. Prior to Tuesday, the Dukes had won 14 straight matches against Commonwealth opponents.

Liberty hit .276 for the match, compared to .209 for the Dukes, as the Lady Flames never trailed during the match. The Lady Flames held a 7-1 advantage in blocks and edged James Madison, 68-65 in digs.

Liberty's Caroline Douglas finished in a tie for the match high, with 17 kills. She was followed by Ansley Gebben and Loren Thomas with nine kills apiece. Gebben added a career-high 23 digs, the most digs by a Lady Flame since Kelly Haseman had 24 digs, Nov. 17, 2011 versus Gardner-Webb.

Jade Craycraft recorded her 17th career double-double, with 34 assists and 10 digs. Gabrielle Shipe collected 16 digs, while Kendle Rollins tallied a match-high six blocks.

Danielle Erb led the Dukes with a season-high 17 kills and 16 digs. Megan Wiechmann totaled a match-high 38 assists for James Madison.

Both teams came out firing in set one, with Liberty hitting .413 with 20 kills, and James Madison attacking at a .347 clip during the opening session. The Lady Flames staged a 14-9 rally to take a 24-19 lead, getting five kills from Douglas during that stretch. Meghan Niski sent down two kills as part of a five-point JMU surge, tying the set at 24-24. Gebben then tallied back-to-back kills to clinch set one, 26-24.

Douglas recorded 10 kills on 16 swings during the first set, while teammate Gebben, along with JMU's Erb and Natalie Abel, had five kills apiece.

Liberty posted three blocks during the second set, slowing down the Dukes' offense to the tune of a .167 attack percentage. The Dukes surged late, drawing to within three points at 23-20. Douglas then notched a kill for set point, and a Monica Johnson kill sealed set two, 25-21.

The Lady Flames continued to excel on the attack in set two, hitting .375 with three Liberty players connecting for four kills apiece. Erb added seven kills for the Dukes during the middle frame.

During set three, Liberty built a 17-10 lead, benefitting from six JMU attack errors to that point. MacKenzie Kleespies registered four kills during a 12-6 JMU rally, as the Dukes battled back to within one, 22-21. Craycraft then scored a kill on the ensuing rally, and Douglas registered Liberty's final two kills as the Lady Flames won set three and the match, 25-23.

James Madison held a .129-.082 edge in set three hitting percentage. Gebben totaled 10 digs in the third set alone, boosting her total to a match-high 23.

The Lady Flames return to Big South competition this weekend, heading to Boiling Springs, N.C. to take on Gardner-Webb on Friday at 7 p.m. before facing UNC Asheville on Saturday at 2 p.m.