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Liberty Drops 3-2 Decision at UNC Asheville
The Liberty volleyball team built a 2-1 lead at UNC Asheville, Saturday before the host Bulldogs rallied for a 3-2 win (20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 15-11) over the Lady Flames at the Justice Center.
With the win, UNC Asheville stops Liberty's four-match winning streak while raising its own record to 5-14, 1-2 in conference matches. Liberty is now 12-5, including a 2-1 Big South record. Prior to Saturday night, Liberty had won its last 15 five-set matches against conference opponents, most recently a 3-2 win at UNC Asheville in the 2011 regular-season finale.
For the match, UNC Asheville hit .252 in registering 60 kills, while Liberty recorded 59 kills at a .205 pace. UNC Asheville held a 12-11 edge in blocks, while the Lady Flames led, 62-61 in digs.
Caroline Douglas led the Lady Flames with 17 kills. Loren Thomas recorded 10 kills and five blocks, while Lillie Happel registered her 22nd career double-double, with 10 kills and 13 digs. Jade Craycraft had 44 assists, seven kills, eight digs and five blocks.
Kendle Rollins contributed eight kills and five blocks, while Gabrielle Shipe totaled 17 digs and Allie Reynolds collected a career-high 14 digs.
Holly Shelton posted 20 kills to lead all players, while Anna Moore added 17 kills and six blocks. Katie Davis registered 52 assists and six blocks, and Rachel Wells collected 19 digs to pace all players.
The Lady Flames built an 18-14 lead in set one, thanks in part to four kills by Craycraft and three from Douglas. UNC Asheville battled back to within two points, as a Moore kill made it 21-19. Liberty outscored the Bulldogs, 4-1, during the final five serves to wrap up set one, 25-20, with Rollins scoring two late kills and the serving up the set-winning ace.
Douglas recorded five kills during the opening set, as Liberty hit .316 compared to .250 for UNC Asheville. Shelton and Chelsie Kenley had four kills apiece for the Bulldogs.
Despite facing an early five-point deficit during the second set, the Lady Flames staged a 10-5 rally to tie the score at 17-17. The Bulldogs responded with a six-point run which featured a pair of blocks. Moore wrapped up the set by recording a kill, as the Bulldogs tied the match with a 25-20 set-two victory.
Shelton recorded six kills in set two, helping UNC Asheville hit .333, compared to .235 for Liberty.
Liberty erased a late 22-18 deficit during set three, going on a 7-0 rally to claim the stanza, 25-22. The Lady Flames posted a pair of blocks during the team's closing surge, and Rollins ended the third set by factoring in each of the last four points.
UNC Asheville broke open a tight fourth set with a 13-2 rally, leading 23-12 following a seven-point run. A kill by Thomas stopped the Bulldogs' extended rally, and the Lady Flames scored five straight points to make it 24-18. Moore then sent down a kill to send the match to a fifth set.
The Bulldogs raced out to a 10-4 lead during set five, registering three blocks during a 7-1 rally to help build momentum. Liberty then tallied the next four points, as Thomas made it 10-8 with a kill. Shelton gave the Bulldogs set point, 14-11, with her 20th kill of the match, and then the hosts sealed the contest with a block. UNC Asheville totaled four blocks in set five, holding Liberty to a .000 hitting percentage during the final frame.
The Lady Flames will conclude their non-conference schedule on Wednesday, when they travel to Richmond, Va., to take on VCU of the Atlantic 10 Conference at 7 p.m.