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Liberty Claims 3-1 Victory at Gardner-Webb in Regular-Season Finale

November 14, 2015  Boiling Springs, N.C.  RSS
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Anna Willey recorded a career-high 63 assists, Saturday at Gardner-Webb.

Anna Willey recorded a career-high 63 assists, Saturday at Gardner-Webb.

Liberty rallied after dropping set one, winning three straight sets to down Gardner-Webb, 3-1 (24-26, 25-11, 25-23, 25-20) Saturday at Paul Porter Arena.

The Lady Flames (14-13, 9-5 Big South) will enter the 2015 Big South Volleyball Championship as the No. 3 seed after closing out the regular season with a win for the 19th season in a row. Gardner-Webb finished its season with a 9-22 record, including 3-11 in Big South play.

Liberty outhit the Runnin' Bulldogs, .268-.178, scoring 71 kills compared to 44 for Gardner-Webb. Liberty's 71 kills were its most in a four-set match under the current 25-point rally-scoring system. Liberty led, 7-4 in aces and 81-59 in digs, while Gardner-Webb held a 14-5 advantage in blocks.

Caroline Douglas led all players with 23 kills for the Lady Flames, hitting .360. Anna Willey dished out a career-high 63 assists, the most ever by a Lady Flame in a four-set match under the current 25-point rally-scoring format. Jade Vorster recorded 16 kills and five blocks, while Margaret Latchford collected a match-high 25 digs. Gabrielle Vess scored 15 kills and collected a career-high 11 digs for her first career double-double. Susan Babcock served up three aces.

Gardner-Webb's Kaelyn Dyson scored 14 kills, while Anna Pashkova collected 15 digs. Sydney Marshall posted match highs with seven blocks and four aces. Justine Bowers recorded a double-double with 27 assists and 14 digs, while Jene Lee recorded six blocks.

The Runnin' Bulldogs led set one, 21-18, following a Dyson kill. Vess scored back-to-back kills, tying the set, 21-21. Gardner-Webb scored the next three points to take a 24-21 lead. Vess sparked a 3-0, set-tying run that also included a Babcock ace. A pair of Liberty errors then clinched the Runnin' Bulldogs' 26-24 win.

Both teams hit .130 during the opening set, as Vess led all players with six kills.

Liberty rolled to a 25-11 victory in the second set, scoring 22 kills at a .500 pace. The Runnin' Bulldogs hit .207 during set two. Jade Vorster sent down seven kills, hitting .600.

Back-to-back kills from Tyra Montour gave the hosts a 19-17, set-three lead. A pair of Douglas kills and a Willey ace then pushed Liberty ahead, 20-19. Dyson then made it 21-20, Gardner-Webb with consecutive kills. The Lady Flames scored the next three points, and the teams traded points from then on, as Liberty won, 25-23.

Gardner-Webb outhit Liberty, .243-.200, in set three. Douglas scored six kills, while Dyson responded with five kills.

With set four tied, 19-19, Douglas scored three kills during a 5-0 Liberty burst that gave the Lady Flames a 24-19 lead. After a service error, Jade Vorster ended the match with a kill.

Liberty hit .316 during the final stanza, with Douglas' nine kills and .471 hitting percentage leading the way. Gardner-Webb hit .150, led by Dyson's five kills.

Official seeding and matchups for the 2015 Big South Volleyball Championship will be released later this evening. This year's Big South Volleyball Championship will be hosted by High Point, Nov. 19-22, with the final to be aired live on ESPN3.com.