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Douglas Powers Liberty to Victory over Virginia in 5-Set Thriller

September 23, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 27 kills and added 13 digs on Tuesday against Virginia.
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Liberty stormed back from a 2-1 deficit, downing the visiting Virginia Cavaliers, 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13) in a thrilling five-set match, Tuesday at the Vines Center.

The Lady Flames (12-5) won their third match in a row and eighth in their last 10 matches. Liberty picked up its first victory over Virginia since Nov. 1, 1979. Virginia (7-6) had won 30 straight meetings prior to Liberty's win tonight.

Liberty's serving and blocking games made a difference. The Lady Flames recorded a season-high nine aces and a season-best 16.5 blocks. Virginia outhit Liberty, .237 to .214, while the hosts led, 77-73 in digs, 16.5-10 in blocks and 9-4 in aces.

Liberty redshirt junior Caroline Douglas scored a match-high 27 kills and added 13 digs and five blocks for her fifth straight double-double. Freshman Hannah Weidner recorded 11 kills and five blocks. Junior Caila Stapleton posted her fifth double-double, with 46 assists and 15 digs. Junior Jade Vorster led all players with nine blocks, tying her season high, while freshman Sirena Vorster totaled a career-best seven blocks. Senior Gabrielle Shipe collected 19 digs, while sophomore Kate Corson recorded a career-high four aces and 11 digs. Junior Allie Reynolds had 10 digs for the Lady Flames.

Virginia senior Tori Janowski recorded 22 kills and 11 digs, while junior Natalie Bausback added 16 kills and five blocks. Junior Kayla Sears recorded 11 kills, and classmate Manon Fuller collected a match-high 24 digs. Sophomore Jasmine Burton posted nine kills and five blocks, while junior Lauren Fuller recorded a match-high 55 assists to go with 11 digs. Sophomore Karlie Suber collected 15 digs.

The Lady Flames shook off a slow start to the first set, as they trailed 9-3 after 12 serves. Liberty later turned an 18-16 deficit into a 22-18 advantage with a six-point run that featured two kills by Gabrielle Vess and an ace from Shipe. The Cavaliers rebounded, with three Bausback kills sparking a 5-0 Virginia rally. Weidner and Vorster then sent down kills during a brief, 3-0 spurt, as Liberty pulled out set one, 25-23.

Liberty outhit UVa, .357-.302, in the opening set, with Douglas scoring seven kills and Bausback answering with five kills.

Virginia evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-21, set-two victory. The Cavaliers hit .353 during the second session, compared to .250 for the Lady Flames. Janowski and Bausback posted five kills for the Cavaliers, while Douglas scored seven kills for the Liberty.

The Cavaliers raced out to a 6-1 advantage during the third stanza, but Liberty quickly responded, taking a 10-9 lead after a 9-3 rally. Virginia led, 16-12, before a pair of Douglas kills spurred Liberty to a 10-7 run. Smoltz served up an ace, Liberty's fourth in set three, to draw the Lady Flames to within 23-21. Stapleton then made it 23-22 with a kill, but Janowski and Bausback scored consecutive kills to put set three away, 25-22.

The visitors outhit Liberty, .333-.122, during set three, as Janowski led the way with six kills.

Liberty extended the match with a gritty, fourth-set victory. The Lady Flames trailed, 21-18, following a Janowski kill. Three Virginia errors aided Liberty's 4-0 run, as the hosts took the lead, 22-21. Janowski tied the score with a kill, but Douglas gave the Lady Flames set point, 24-22, with back-to-back kills. Jade Vorster and Weidner stuffed a Janowski attempt, sealing the 25-22 victory.

Liberty hit .278 in set four, while Virginia hit .220. Douglas and Janowski both recorded seven kills.

Set five featured eight ties and two lead changes. The Lady Flames posted five blocks during the session, as Virginia hit -.103. The Cavaliers led, 8-7, at the changeover and held an 11-9 edge following a Liberty error. Vess sent down a kill, and Liberty tied it, 11-11, on a Douglas-Jade Vorster block. After four rally points, the Lady Flames won the match on back-to-back kills by Stapleton and Douglas, 15-13.

The Lady Flames open up Big South play on Friday night, hosting the defending Big South champion Radford Highlanders at the Vines Center. First serve between Liberty and Radford is scheduled for 7 p.m.