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Lady Flames Earn 3rd Straight 5-Set Win, Down Radford

October 3, 2017  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Gabrielle Vess scored 12 kills on Tuesday at Radford.

Gabrielle Vess scored 12 kills on Tuesday at Radford.

Liberty earned its third five-set win in a row on Tuesday, downing the defending Big South regular-season champion Radford, 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 25-22, 14-25, 15-10) at the Dedmon Center.

Liberty improves to 6-11 on the season, including 3-1 in Big South matches with its third straight five-set win. The Lady Flames snapped Radford's 11-match home winning streak, dating to 2016. Radford falls to 13-3, 3-2 in conference play following its second consecutive loss. This is the first time in program history that Liberty has won three straight matches by 3-2 scores.

Radford hit .207 with 64 kills, while Liberty scored 54 kills at a .172 pace. The Lady Flames led, 10-6 in blocks and 77-69 in digs.

Anna Gragg sent down 14 kills at a .433 clip for Liberty, while Gabrielle Vess totaled 12 kills and 11 digs. Casey Goodwin recorded 11 kills and a career-high seven blocks. Amaya Williams registered 20 assists and 13 digs, while Margaret Latchford collected 20 digs. Latchford became the 17th player in program history with 1,100 or more career digs, at 1,114. Sirena Vorster contributed nine kills and five blocks, while Victoria Baptista collected 10 digs.

Stephanie Neast scored a match-high 24 kills, while Maddie Palmer totaled 11 kills and 16 digs. Haley Kleespies chipped in with 48 assists and 16 digs. Valerie Gonzalez sent down 10 kills, while Alyssa Carruth collected 12 digs and Kaylor Nash, 10.

Radford got off to a fast start in set one, leading 9-4 after 13 serves. Gragg then scored two straight kills, as Jenna Culhan served for eight straight points to give Liberty the lead, 13-9. The Lady Flames built their lead to as many as seven points, 18-11, and led 24-19 late. The Highlanders fought off three set points before Vorster's kill won it, 25-22.

Liberty outhit Radford, .270-.179, in the opening set. Neast scored five kills for Radford, while Liberty's Vorster countered with four kills.

The Highlanders led set one, 8-7, before going on a 7-1 rally to gain a 15-8 advantage, with Gonzalez scoring three kills during the Radford surge. Liberty drew to within five point at 15-10 and 16-11, but got no closer as the hosts won by 10, 25-15.

Set two saw Radford hit .308, compared to .061 for Liberty. Neast matched her set-one kill total, with five in the second session.

The Lady Flames turned an 11-10 set-three deficit into a 17-11 lead, getting three kills and two blocks from Goodwin during the 7-0 run. Radford trailed, 18-12, before staging an 8-2 rally to tie it at 20-20. The Lady Flames gained set points at 24-22 on a Goodwin kill before Gragg sent down a kill for the win.

Liberty hit .324 during the third stanza, compared to .233 for the Highlanders. Neast and Goodwin both scored seven third-set kills.

Radford broke open a tight fourth set, outscoring Liberty, 14-4 down the stretch to win, 25-14 and send the match to a decisive fifth set. The Highlanders outhit the Lady Flames, .242-.000, in the fourth session.

The visitors held a slim, 8-7 lead at the court change in set five. Radford tied it at 8-8 and again at 10-10. Vess then sent down a kill to put Liberty ahead. Vorster and Goodwin followed with kills, before a Vess solo block made it 14-10. The senior then ended the match with a kill.

Liberty's road swing continues on Friday at 7 p.m., when the Lady Flames play at Campbell at the Gore Arena in Buies Creek, N.C.