Liberty took the opening set from defending Big South tournament champion High Point, before the Panthers rallied for a 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-19) win, Tuesday at the Vines Center.
With the win, High Point (8-6) opens conference play at 1-0, while Liberty (3-11) stands at 0-1 in Big South play. The Lady Flames are now 20-7 all-time in Big South openers.
High Point outhit Liberty, .250 (65-26-156) to .167 (50-24-156), while also leading, 4-0 in aces and 67-56 in digs. The Lady Flames held a 10-7 advantage in blocks.
Katie Tylman scored a match-high 18 kills for High Point, while Molly Livingston sent down 17 kills. Carly Jimenez dished out 33 assists, while Abby Bottomley collected a match-high 35 digs.
Casey Goodwin scored 14 kills for the second match in a row, while Anna Gragg hit .417 with 11 kills and a match-high five blocks. Kainah Williams scored 11 kills at a .421 pace, while Amaya Williams registered 42 assists and 13 digs. Margaret Latchford collected 15 digs, while Jenna Culhan corralled 11 digs. Liberty trailed set one, 20-18, following a service error. Goodwin then scored a kill and assisted Kainah Williams on two blocks, helping push the Lady Flames ahead, 22-20. Livingston then scored a kill, slicing the deficit in half, but Goodwin scored kills on each of High Point's next two serves and Liberty won, 25-23.
During the opening set, the visitors outhit Liberty, .216-.200. Goodwin and Livingston matched each other with five kills.
In the second set, High Point used a 5-0 run to turn a 6-5 set-two deficit into a 10-6 lead. The Panthers pulled away, tying the match with a 25-16 victory. For the set, HPU hit .250 while Liberty hit just .056. Bottomley collected 10 digs during the second session.
The third set proved to be key in deciding the winner of the match. The Panthers led, 24-20, following a kill by Tylman. An Amaya Williams-Gragg block sparked a four-point Liberty run, as the hosts tied it up at 24-all. Following a Liberty timeout, Tylman sent down a kill. High Point then held serve for the 26-24 victory following a Liberty miscue.
The Panthers hit .317 with 20 kills in set three, while Liberty recorded 15 kills at a .275 clip. Gragg led all players with six set-three kills.
The guests used a 7-1 run early in set four to go ahead, 11-5. Liberty battled back, getting to within three, 16-13, following Culhan's kill. Tylman sent down back-to-back kills to shift momentum back to High Point, as the visitors won set four, 25-19.
Liberty continues its three-match homestand, welcoming Presbyterian to the Vines Center for a 2 p.m. match on Saturday.