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Lady Flames Sweep PC in Battle of Conference Leaders
The Liberty volleyball team continued its home dominance, sweeping Presbyterian College, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-19), in a match featuring Big South co-leaders on Friday at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames (16-7, 6-2 Big South) are now in a two-way tie with Coastal Carolina atop the Big South standings following Friday's matches. Presbyterian College is now 8-15, 5-3 in conference play.
Liberty has won 17 sets in a row at home, and 11 straight home matches overall. The Lady Flames have also tied a program record with 18 straight conference home wins.
Both teams registered 45 kills on the night, with Liberty hitting .262 compared to .203 for Presbyterian College. The Lady Flames led in blocks, 10.5-3, while PC held a slim, 61-58 edge in digs.
Liberty junior Lillie Happel tied her season high with 15 kills and added 13 digs for her 23rd career double-double and fourth this season. Caroline Douglas added 13 kills, while Kendle Rollins led all players with six blocks. Gabrielle Shipe recorded a team-high 15 digs, and Jade Craycraft led the Lady Flames with 32 assists. Allie Reynolds collected 10 digs on the evening.
Presley Mabrey led the Blue Hose with 12 kills and added a match-high 19 digs. Elizabeth Miler and Rachel Hall both registered nine kills, while Mary Trimpe had 16 digs and Ashtin Frank paced all players with 38 assists.
Presbyterian College held a 15-11 lead midway through set one, but the Lady Flames scored a 6-1 rally to take the advantage at 17-16. PC briefly regained the lead, 19-18, but Douglas capped a 3-0 Liberty run with a kill, giving the Lady Flames the edge at 21-19. Andrea Barman tied the set at 22-all with a kill, but Liberty ended the set on a 3-1 run, with a Happel kill sealing the 25-23 win.
Happel and Mabrey totaled six kills apiece during the opening set, as Liberty hit .261 and the Blue Hose hit .233. Douglas added five kills for the Lady Flames.
Liberty never trailed during a 25-20 set-two victory, getting six kills from Douglas while hitting .295 as a team. The Lady Flames registered five team blocks in the middle frame, holding PC to a .213 attack percentage. The visitors trailed by just one, 16-15, but Happel sent down three kills during a 5-1 Liberty rally and the Lady Flames raced to the five-point win.
Presbyterian College battled from behind throughout the third set, trailing by three, 17-14, following a kill by Allison Brown. Thomas and Happel then sent down back-to-back kills, and PC committed four errors down the stretch as Liberty won, 25-19, to claim the match sweep.
Happel registered half of Liberty's 12 set-three kills, as the Lady Flames outhit PC, .225-.158, during the final stanza.
The Lady Flames host Winthrop tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Vines Center to close out their Big South weekend homestand. Liberty and Winthrop last met on Oct. 21, 2011 in Rock Hill, S.C., resulting in a 3-2 Lady Flames victory.