Liberty took on Commonwealth rival Radford, Tuesday at the Vines Center, with the Highlanders prevailing in three sets (25-13, 25-20, 25-15) in the Lady Flames' final home match of the season.
Radford (21-3, 11-2 Big South), currently second in the Big South standings extended its winning streak to seven matches while avenging a 3-2 setback to Liberty on Oct. 3. The Lady Flames (10-16, 7-6) clinched their spot in the six-team field for 2017 Big South Volleyball Championship, thanks to Winthrop's win over Charleston Southern tonight.
For the match, Radford outhit Liberty, .292-.083, while also leading in kills (41-33), assists (38-31), blocks (6-3) and aces (7-1). Both teams collected 47 digs.
Maddie Palmer led all players with 15 kills, while Haley Kleespies dished out a match-high 36 assists while adding 11 digs, two aces and two blocks. Mallory McKnight scored eight kills and posted three blocks, while Kaylor Nash collected 12 digs and served up two aces.
Liberty's Casey Goodwin scored a team-high nine kills to go along with two solo blocks, followed by Anna Gragg with eight kills. Amaya Williams dished out 19 assists, while Margaret Latchford collected nine digs.
Radford raced out to a 6-1 lead in set one, on the way to a 25-13 victory. During the opening session, the Highlanders attacked at a .500 pace while also serving up three aces. Liberty hit .161 in the first set. Liberty's Gabrielle Vess sent down four set-one kills, while McKnight and Palmer answered with four kills each for Radford.
The guests again got off to a fast start during the middle session, leading 7-1 after eight serves. Liberty came all the way back into a tie, 14-all, after a Vess kill. Stephanie Neast then gave Radford the lead with a kill, followed by a Valerie Gonzalez ace. Gragg narrowed the deficit to 16-15 with her kill, but that was as close as it would get, as Radford pulled away late, 25-20.
The Highlanders outhit Liberty, .200-.098, in set two. Goodwin led all players with five second-set kills.
Radford used an early 5-0 run to boost its lead to 12-5 in the third set. The Highlanders later scored five in a row to gain their largest lead, 20-8, before holding off a late Liberty run to win, 25-15.
During set three, Radford hit .237 as a team, and posted four blocks as Liberty hit .000. Palmer scored seven third-set kills.
The Lady Flames will play their final three regular-season matches all on the road, beginning this Friday at 7 p.m., when they take on the Presbyterian Blue Hose at the Templeton Center in Clinton, S.C.
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