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Liberty Wins 3rd Straight, Downs CSU in 4 Sets

October 21, 2017  Charleston, S.C.  RSS
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Jenna Culhan scored a career-high 12 kills on Saturday at CSU.

Jenna Culhan scored a career-high 12 kills on Saturday at CSU.

Liberty bounced back from a first-set loss on Saturday, rallying for a 3-1 win (21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17) over Charleston Southern at CSU Field House.

The Lady Flames (9-14, 6-4 Big South) have won three straight matches, including two wins over CSU and last night's 3-0 sweep at Winthrop. Liberty is now tied with Campbell for third place in the conference standings. Charleston Southern falls to 8-16, 3-7 in Big South play with its third consecutive setback.

For the match, Liberty scored 59 kills at a .214 pace, while CSU hit .163 with 43 kills. The Lady Flames led in digs (80-61) and aces (5-4), while the Buccaneers held a 9-8 edge in blocks.

Casey Goodwin scored a season-high 19 kills (.444) to lead all players, while Jenna Culhan hit .375 while scoring a career-high 12 kills. Margaret Latchford collected a match-high 26 digs, pushing her over the 1,200-career dig plateau. Anna Gragg posted 10 kills and four blocks, while Victoria Baptista tied her career high with 18 digs. Amaya Williams dished out a match-high 36 assists, while Gabrielle Vess registered 15 digs and three aces.

Brooke Monssen led CSU with 11 kills, adding five blocks. Addison Kaderli recorded 10 kills, while Rachel Smith registered 30 assists and 11 digs. Madison Martin collected a team-high 15 digs, while Kalysia Bates posted a match-high six blocks.

Liberty led set one, 17-16, following a kill by Goodwin. A pair of Kylie Klein blocks helped spark a 3-0 CSU run, pushing the Buccaneers ahead, 19-17. The Lady Flames came back and tied it at 19-19, and again at 21-21. Kaderli then scored a go-ahead kill, and Charleston Southern put together the last four points to win, 25-21.

During set one, CSU outhit Liberty, .237-.103, while the hosts recorded four blocks. Goodwin sent down six kills for Liberty.

The Lady Flames built a 20-15 lead in the second set, as Sirena Vorster capped a 4-1 Liberty run with a kill. The Buccaneers then reeled off four straight points, narrowing the gap to 20-19. Gragg scored a pair of big kills late, helping Liberty gain set point at 24-21. The guests sealed set two, 25-22, on a combo block by Vorster and Goodwin.

The Buccaneers held a slight, .116-.103 lead in hitting percentage during the second session. Gragg led all players with five set-two kills.

CSU led set three, 9-7, before Liberty staged a decisive 5-0 run, keyed by two kills and a block assist from Culhan. The Buccaneers closed the gap to 13-11 with a block, but Liberty pulled away to win, 25-18. In all, the Lady Flames outscored CSU, 18-9, down the stretch.

Liberty outhit Charleston Southern, .341-.122, in the third set, while Culhan, Goodwin and Vess had five kills apiece.

Charleston Southern held a 14-13 set-four lead when Monssen sent down a kill. Gragg then tied it at 14-14, sparking a 5-0 Liberty run that featured two aces from Vess and two Goodwin kills. The Buccaneers pulled to within 19-16 on a kill from Klein, but Liberty put the match away, winning 25-17.

Set four saw Liberty outhit CSU, .314-.194. Goodwin scored seven fourth-set kills, while Culhan tallied five kills. 

Liberty now closes out its home schedule with a three-match homestand, starting next weekend. The Lady Flames will host Gardner-Webb on Friday at 7 p.m. before playing host to Campbell, Saturday at 2 p.m. The team will honor its three seniors, Gabrielle Vess, Sirena Vorster and Anna Willey, with a Senior Night ceremony prior to Friday's match against Gardner-Webb at the Vines Center.