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Radford Outlasts Liberty in 5-Set Match

September 27, 2016  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Leah Clayton

Leah Clayton

Liberty battled back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, before Radford claimed the match, 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-9), on Tuesday at the Dedmon Center.

With the win, Radford improves to 13-3 on the season, including 4-0 in Big South play. The Lady Flames are now 5-9, 0-2 in conference matches. The Highlanders have won the last three meetings, including two in a row by a 3-2 score.

For the match, the Highlanders held a .189-.123 advantage in hitting percentage, while also leading, 54-52, in digs. Liberty led in blocks, 15-8, while both teams served up five aces.

Radford's Maddie Palmer and Amaya Rousseau scored 14 kills each, with Palmer adding 15 digs. Sydney Tekstra scored 14 kills and Mallory McKnight, 10. Haley Kleespies dished out a match-high 56 assists, while Kaylor Nash collected 12 digs and Kelby Jackson contributed 11 digs.

Leah Clayton scored a season-high 19 kills to go with 12 digs for her second double-double. Hannah Morris totaled 45 assists, 13 digs and six blocks. Anna Gragg registered 10 kills and six blocks, while Payton Carter sent down a season-high 10 kills. Kainah Williams recorded a career-high eight blocks and two aces, while Casey Goodwin posted six blocks. Margaret Latchford collected 13 digs.

Liberty led the opening set, 13-12, following a Clayton kill. Tekstra and Valerie Gonzalez scored two kills each in a 4-0 Radford run, pushing the Highlanders ahead, 16-13. Gragg later scored a kill to draw the Lady Flames to within two, 19-17, but Radford outscored the guests, 6-2, down the stretch to win the opening frame, 25-19.

Radford outhit Liberty, .387-.207, during the first set, and Tekstra led all players with five kills.

The Lady Flames narrowed the gap to 17-15 on a Williams kill in set two. The Highlanders staged a 5-1 rally before holding off a late charge by the Lady Flames in the 25-20 Radford win.

The second session saw both team struggle on the attack, as Radford hit .118 and Liberty connected at a .034 pace. The Lady Flames posted five team blocks.

The visitors' blocking fueled the Lady Flames to a 25-20, set-three victory. Liberty led, 19-14, following a Goodwin-Gragg combo block. Radford chipped away at the deficit, drawing as close as 22-20, but the Lady Flames posted three straight blocks to seal the win.

Liberty recorded six blocks in the third session, holding Radford to a .088 hitting percentage. Williams factored in on four of those rejections.

Radford led for a majority of set four, leading 21-19 following a Liberty error. Clayton scored four kills for Liberty during a set-clinching 6-2 rally for the Lady Flames, forcing a fifth set.

The Lady Flames outhit Radford, .213-.174, during the fourth stanza, and Clayton scored seven kills.

Radford scored the first four points of the fifth set and led, 8-3, at the changeover. The Lady Flames drew to within three, 8-5, but got no closer as the Highlanders went on to win set five, 15-9.

Liberty brings its nine-match road stretch to a close on Friday, competing against UNC Asheville at the Justice Center. Friday night's match between the Lady Flames and Bulldogs is set to begin at 7 p.m.