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UNC Asheville Tops Liberty in 4 Sets

November 9, 2017  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Amaya Williams recorded 50 assists and a career-high 15 digs on Thursday at UNC Asheville.

Amaya Williams recorded 50 assists and a career-high 15 digs on Thursday at UNC Asheville.

UNC Asheville won a spirited, back-and-forth four-set match (27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20) over Liberty on Thursday at the Justice Center.

The Bulldogs finish their regular-season schedule at 13-14, including 9-7 in Big South play. UNC Asheville is in sole possession of fourth place in the Big South standings. The Lady Flames (10-18, 7-8) are now tied with Winthrop for fifth place in the conference following their fourth consecutive setback.

UNC Asheville outhit Liberty, .301-.200, for the match, while also leading, 71-66 in digs and 6-1 in service aces. The Lady Flames led, 62-60, in kills and 10-7 in blocks.

Cara Guthrie registered 18 kills and a match-high 21 digs for the Bulldogs, while Ansley Rooks recorded 12 kills and 14 digs. Madisen Zyburt collected 19 digs, while Kailey Hackett and Carter Kennedy dished out 25 assists each and KK Haley served up three aces.

Liberty's Casey Goodwin scored a career-high 23 kills at a .442 pace. Gabrielle Vess (15 kills, 10 digs) and Amaya Williams (50 assists, career-high 15 digs) both registered double-doubles. Margaret Latchford collected 16 digs, while Sirena Vorster posted six blocks, pushing her over the 300-career-block plateau.

Liberty led set one, 19-16, following a kill by Anna Gragg. Rooks then scored three kills during a 4-1 Asheville rally, tying the score at 20-20. Goodwin scored kills for sideouts on the Bulldogs' next two serves, making it 22-21, Liberty. The Bulldogs scored three out of the next four points, earning set point at 24-23. Following four rally points, Guthrie served a set-clinching ace, 27-25.

The hosts scored 18 kills at a .425 pace in the opening set, while Liberty hit .273 with 17 kills. Asheville's Guthrie and Liberty's Goodwin had seven kills apiece.

The second set was the closest of the night, with 16 ties and five lead changes. The teams played to a 21-21 tie before Goodwin tacked on a pair of kills to make it 23-21, Lady Flames. After a pair of Bulldog points, Haley's service error gave Liberty set point. Jenna Culhan and Vorster then teamed up for a block, sealing Liberty's 25-23 win.

UNC Asheville outhit Liberty, .250-.225, in set two, with Guthrie scoring five kills and Vorster answering with three blocks.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-2 lead in set three, before Liberty rallied to within 9-7. The hosts built their lead to 16-9 before the Lady Flames rallied, coming all the way back to tie it at 19-19 on a Goodwin-Vorster block. Cecilia Stack's kill made it 20-19, Asheville. Goodwin answered with a kill, but the Bulldogs outscored Liberty, 5-1, down the stretch to win, 25-21.

During set three, UNC Asheville hit .250, compared to .200 for Liberty. Goodwin scored six third-set kills, while Vess sent down five kills.

Set four saw the Bulldogs win the race to 20, at 20-16. Asheville led, 23-18, before a Goodwin kill and a Williams-Vorster block drew Liberty to within three, 23-20. Julia Loveday then sent down a kill, before Rooks ended the match with an ace.

UNC Asheville outhit Liberty, .268-.184, during the fourth set, while Goodwin led all players with six set-four kills.

Liberty's regular-season schedule concludes on Saturday, as the Lady Flames take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at 2 p.m. at the Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, N.C.