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Lady Flames Drop 3-1 Decision to Northern Kentucky

September 19, 2014  Nashville, Tenn.  RSS
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Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 19 kills and added 11 digs on Friday against Northern Kentucky.

Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 19 kills and added 11 digs on Friday against Northern Kentucky.

The Liberty volleyball team opened the Bruin Classic with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 26-28, 25-16) setback to Northern Kentucky, Friday at Belmont's Curb Event Center.

With the win, NKU improves its season record to 8-3, while the Lady Flames are now 9-5 after seeing their three-match winning streak come to an end.

The Norse outhit Liberty, .268 to .193, while Liberty led, 69-60, in digs. The Lady Flames held a slight advantage in blocks (6-5) and in aces (3-2)

Liberty redshirt junior Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 19 kills and added 11 digs for her second double-double in a row. Freshman Hannah Weidner hit .368 with 18 kills. This was the seventh straight match during which both Douglas and Weidner recorded 10 or more kills.

Lady Flames senior Gabrielle Shipe had a match-high 24 digs, giving her 1,406 career digs. Shipe is the eighth player in program history to collect 1,400 or more career digs. Freshman Anna Willey registered her first career double-double, with career highs of 35 assists and 10 digs. Freshman Sirena Vorster hit .471 while tying her career best with 10 kills.

Senior Jenna Ruble led four Norse players in double-figures with 15 kills, followed by senior Megan Wanstrath (12 kills), sophomore Keely Creamer (11) and sophomore Tristen Simpson. Redshirt sophomore Taylor Snyder dished out a match-high 40 assists, while junior Jayden Julian (13 digs) was one of three NKU players with 10 or more digs.

The Norse closed set one on a 9-1 rally, earning a 25-20 victory. Liberty took the lead, 18-15, following a four-point Lady Flames run which saw kills from Sirena Vorster and Weidner. Trailing, 19-16, NKU reeled off seven straight points, including three kills from Wanstrath and two by Ruble. Jeffcoat sent down a kill to stop the rally, but the Norse scored the final two points to seal the set.

NKU held a slim, .222 to .219 advantage in hitting percentage during the opening session. Ruble scored six kills and Wanstrath added five.

Liberty led the second set early, 9-7, before the Norse staged a 10-1 rally to gain the lead at 17-10. Weidner scored four kills during the Lady Flames' ensuing 8-3 run as Liberty drew to within 20-18. Wanstrath recorded a kill and a block down the stretch, and the Norse won set two, 25-19.

The Norse outhit Liberty, .258 to .114, during set two, while NKU poste four blocks. Weidner posted five kills for the Lady Flames, while Wanstrath registered three blocks for the Norse.

The Lady Flames pulled out a tight third set to extend the match. Kills by Ruble and Creamer gave NKU match point, 24-23. Weidner sent down kills on back-to-back Norse serves to keep the Lady Flames alive. After a service error tied the set, 26-26, Weidner served up an ace and Sirena Vorster clinched the set, 28-26, with a kill.

Liberty hit .275 during set three, while NKU attacked at a .235 pace. Douglas sent down eight kills and Weidner added seven winners for the Lady Flames. NKU's Ruble countered with five kills.

The Norse doubled Liberty's score, 12-6, over the final 18 serves of the fourth session, pulling away for a 25-16 victory to seal the 3-1 match victory. NKU attacked at a .371 pace during the final stanza, compared to .140 for the Lady Flames. Northern Kentucky's Simpson led all players with five set-four kills.

The Lady Flames will compete twice tomorrow to finish the Bruin Classic. Liberty faces Wright State at 1 p.m. Eastern, tomorrow before meeting the host Belmont Bruins at 7 p.m. Eastern in the final match of the tournament.