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Lady Flames Fall to Northern Illinois, 3-0

August 31, 2013  DeKalb, Ill.  RSS
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Gabrielle Shipe collected a season-high 17 digs on Saturday at Northern Illinois.

Gabrielle Shipe collected a season-high 17 digs on Saturday at Northern Illinois.

The host Northern Illinois Huskies hit .300 on the way to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-22) sweep of Liberty, Saturday during the NIU Invitational at Victor E. Court.

The Lady Flames remain in search of their first win of the 2013 season, at 0-2. The Huskies are now 2-0, as they defeated Green Bay on Friday night to open the campaign. Liberty will now face Green Bay at approximately 6:45 p.m. Eastern time, while NIU will face No. 23 Ohio State in the final match of the NIU Invitational, later this evening.

NIU posted a .300 attack percentage, connecting for 45 kills, while Liberty posted 22 kills at a .030 pace. Liberty led in blocks, 8-5, and NIU held a 5-4 edge in aces and led 52-36 in digs.

Liberty junior Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 17 digs. Senior Jade Craycraft led all players with four blocks (one solo, three assisted), in addition to five kills, 14 assists and seven digs. Senior Lillie Happel had five kills and two aces, tying for the team lead in kills with Craycraft and freshman Susan Babcock.

Freshman Mary Grace Kelly recorded a match-best 13 kills for the Huskies, while junior Mackenzie Roddy added 10 kills. Sophomore Alexis Gonzalez dished out a match-high 28 assists, and senior Justine Schepler registered 11 digs and two aces.

The Lady Flames trailed, 14-12, in set one following a kill by Happel. Later, the Huskies went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-14 lead, getting two kills from Kelly during the surge. NIU converted its third set point try, 25-16.

During the opening set, NIU hit .276, compared to -.059 for the Lady Flames. Kelly led all players with four set-one kills.

Northern Illinois led the second set from 7-6 on, taking a 2-0 match lead with a 25-15 victory. The Huskies outhit Liberty, .485 to .067, in set two, behind six kills from Kelly. Craycraft sent down a kill to make it 11-9, Huskies, before Northern Illinois closed the stanza on a 14-6 run. The Lady Flames trimmed the deficit to 19-13 after a Happel-McQuitery block, but could get no closer.

The third and final set proved to be the most tightly-contested stanza of the match. The Lady Flames took a 16-14 lead on a block by Monica Johnson. NIU broke a 17-17 tie by going on a 6-3 surge, with Sarah Angelos recording back-to-back blocks for a 23-19 Huskies advantage. The Lady Flames answered with a Craycraft block and a kill from Kendle Rollins, bringing Liberty to within 24-22, but Kayla Zeno scored the match-clinching kill on the ensuing rally.

Shipe collected 10 of her match-high 17 digs in the third set, while Craycraft had three kills. Kelly and Roddy recorded three kills apiece for NIU.