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Lady Flames Sweep Gardner-Webb in Regular-Season Finale
The Liberty volleyball team celebrated Senior Day with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-20) sweep over Gardner-Webb at the Vines Center, extending its winning streak to seven matches on Saturday.
Prior to the match, Liberty honored its four seniors – Lauren Bosché, Erica Manor, Kendle Rollins and Loren Thomas.
The Big South regular-season champion Lady Flames will serve as the No. 1 seed in next week's Big South Volleyball Championship in Boiling Springs, N.C., after winning its sixth conference regular-season title in a row. The full tournament bracket will be announced later tonight.
Liberty concludes the regular season with a 22-7 record, including 12-2 in conference play. Gardner-Webb's regular season ends, as the Runnin' Bulldogs went 9-22 and 4-10 in Big South matches.
Liberty has won 14 straight home matches overall, 26 straight home sets, and a program-record 21 conference home matches in a row.
The Lady Flames hit .280 for the match, compared to .152 for the Runnin' Bulldogs. Liberty led, 55-46 in digs and 8-5 in aces, while Gardner-Webb held a 5-4 lead in blocks.
Caroline Douglas sent down a match-high 13 kills for the Lady Flames, hitting .444. Lillie Happel followed with 10 kills. Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 16 digs and Becca Haraf totaled 14 digs and three aces. Jade Craycraft dished out 30 assists, pushing her over 1,000 assists for the season.
Thomas posted two blocks, and is now in a tie for sixth all-time in Big South history (Lisa Mullins – Winthrop) with 260 career blocks.
Three Runnin' Bulldogs registered eight kills apiece, in Carolina Solano, Erin Anderson and Tyler Cockrell. Heather Feldman had a match-high 31 assists, while Anna Pashkova collected 14 digs.
The Lady Flames outscored Gardner-Webb, 8-5, over the last 13 points of set one, taking a 25-21 victory. There were eight ties and five lead changes in the opening frame. Liberty hit .412 in sending down 17 set-one kills, while Gardner-Webb connected for 14 kills at a .237 clip. Douglas totaled seven kills and Happel added six, and Cockrell and Anderson had four apiece for the visitors.
Gardner-Webb held an early 14-6 advantage during the middle session. The Lady Flames staged a 12-4 rally to tie the score at 18-all, with three Douglas kills helping spark the run. Liberty took the lead for good at 20-19 on a Happel kill, and raced to the finish, 25-20 for a 2-0 match lead. Douglas registered four kills in set two, and Solano had four kills as well.
Liberty quickly gained command of the third set, doubling Gardner-Webb's score, 20-10, through 30 serves. The Runnin' Bulldogs then went on a 6-0 rally, drawing to within four on Dominique Bray's third ace. The visitors got no closer, as Liberty sealed the match by winning set three, 25-20. The Lady Flames totaled five service aces in the third frame, including three by Haraf, while Gardner-Webb responded with three aces from Bray.