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No. 1 Seed Lady Flames Advance to 6th Straight BSC Final With Sweep of No. 4 Seed PC
No. 1 seed Liberty swept fourth-seeded Presbyterian College, 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-20), in the Big South Volleyball Championship semifinal Friday at Paul Porter Arena. In the process, the Lady Flames qualified for the conference final for the sixth year in a row.
Liberty (24-7) has won nine matches in a row overall, and will compete in the championship match on Sunday at 2 p.m., with the match to be aired on ESPN3. The defending champion Lady Flames will face No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina, as the Chanticleers defeated UNC Asheville, 3-1, on Friday.
Presbyterian College (13-18) concludes its season after making its first appearance in the Big South Volleyball Championship.
Liberty's current nine-match winning streak is its longest since a program-record 16-match winning streak, Oct. 5 through Nov. 17, 2007.
For the match, Liberty hit .277 with 47 kills, compared to 44 kills at a .163 clip for the Blue Hose. The Lady Flames held a 7-4 edge in blocks and led 6-1 in aces, while PC recorded 64 digs to Liberty's 55.
Lillie Happel posted a match-high 14 kills at a .364 clip and added 11 digs for her seventh double-double this season. Loren Thomas sent down 10 kills, hitting .421. Jade Craycraft dished out 35 assists to go with six kills and eight digs. Gabrielle Shipe collected 17 digs, while Becca Haraf tallied nine digs. Meliss Racz hit .462 in scoring six kills.
Andrea Barman led the Blue Hose with 10 kills, followed by nine kills each from Presley Mabrey and Elizabeth Miler. Ashtin Frank posted a match-high 45 assists, while Mary Trimpe totaled 23 digs to lead all players.
Set one remained tightly-contested throughout, with 17 ties and five lead changes. Thomas gave Liberty a 21-19 lead with a kill, before PC rallied to gain the edge, at 23-22. Caroline Douglas and Happel sent down consecutive kills for a 24-23 Liberty advantage. The Blue Hose fought off three set-point chances before Douglas found the back line for a kill to seal the 28-26 Liberty victory.
Happel registered nine of Liberty's 19 set-one kills, and the Lady Flames hit .233 during the opening session. PC recorded 19 kills at a .211 pace, with Miler scoring five kills in the first set.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 20-8 lead during the second set, behind four aces as a team and four kills from Thomas and three by Happel. PC inched back into the set, closing the gap to seven, 23-16, but Thomas scored the set-clinching kill at 25-17.
Liberty outhit PC, .333-.103 in set two. Thomas sent down six kills on as many swings for Liberty, while Barman of PC responded with four kills in the second stanza.
Presbyterian College used a 4-0 rally to tie set three at 19-19. Douglas then scored three straight kills, good for a 22-19 Liberty edge. Kendle Rollins recorded two consecutive kills to help the Lady Flames pull away for the 25-20 set-three victory and match sweep.
The Lady Flames hit .297 in the final stanza, while PC attacked at a .154 pace. Douglas recorded four kills, and PC got five kills apiece from Mabrey and Allison Brown in set three.