The visiting Radford Highlanders held off Liberty, 25-23, in a tightly contested fourth set, sealing a 3-1 (25-17, 12-25, 25-19, 25-23) win over the Lady Flames at the Vines Center on Friday.
This marks the third year in a row that Liberty and Radford have split their regular-season series. The Lady Flames downed the Highlanders, 3-1, on Sept. 25 in both teams' Big South opener. Liberty's record now stands at 12-11, 7-3 in Big South play. Radford (11-12, 4-6) ended a 14-year drought, earning its first win at the Vines Center since Nov. 6, 2001.
Both teams struggled on the attack, with Liberty outhitting Radford, .127-.115. The Lady Flames held a 12-9 advantage in blocks, while Radford led, 58-53 in digs and 7-3 in aces.
Radford's Megan Short led all players with 17 kills, hitting .500 while adding five blocks. Maddie Palmer scored 10 kills, while Savanna Burton totaled eight kills and 15 digs. Haley Kleespies dished out a match-high 40 assists and served up three aces. Kelby Jackson collected 10 digs.
Jade Vorster sent down nine kills at a .412 pace while also posting a season-high eight blocks (two solo, six assisted). Caroline Douglas also scored nine kills, while Gabrielle Vess recorded eight kills and four blocks. Anna Willey totaled 33 assists and seven digs, while Margaret Latchford collected a match-high 19 digs. The guests controlled the opening set, racing to a 19-12 lead. Back-to-back kills by Vess and Douglas narrowed the gap to 19-14, but Radford pulled away for a 25-17 win. The Highlanders outhit Liberty, .393-.188, during the opening session. Radford's Short scored five kills, while Vess sent down five kills for the Lady Flames.
Liberty turned the tables during set two, cruising to a victory, 25-12. The Lady Flames hit .238, while Radford recorded 13 hitting errors, hitting -.219. The hosts registered four blocks during the second session, including two each from Willey and Sydney Morris.
The Lady Flames led the third set, 17-12, following a 9-4 rally that Weidner capped with a kill. Radford responded, as Short sent down a kill, sparking a 10-0 Highlanders run to give the visitors a 22-17 lead. The Highlander took the set, 25-19, earning a 2-1 match lead. During set three, Radford served up three aces and hit .179, while Liberty attacked at a .088 pace. Short scored six kills for the guests during the third stanza. The fourth set featured 13 ties and seven lead changes. Trailing, 18-17, Liberty went on a three-point run that featured a Susan Babcock ace and a Douglas kill. After Radford tied it, 20-20, a kill from Morris gave Liberty its last lead, 21-20. Palmer then scored a kill and served an ace during a 4-0 Radford run. The Lady Flames fought off two match points, before a Burton kill sealed the Highlanders' win. Radford outhit Liberty, .125-.051 during set four. Vorster scored four fourth-set kills and factored in on all four of the Lady Flames' blocks. Short recorded four kills and three blocks.
The Lady Flames remain home for their next two matches. Liberty will celebrate Senior Day on next Friday, honoring seniors Caroline Douglas, Haley Jeffcoat, Allie Reynolds and Jade Vorster prior to the team's 7 p.m. match against High Point. The Lady Flames then close out their 2015 home schedule, Saturday at 2 p.m. versus Campbell.