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Lady Flames Claim Dramatic 3-2 Win Over Northern Arizona

September 21, 2019  Gainesville, Fla.   RSS
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Anna Gragg posted 21 kills and six blocks against Northern Arizona on Saturday.

Anna Gragg posted 21 kills and six blocks against Northern Arizona on Saturday.

Liberty fought off a pair of match-point tries before ending the match on a 3-0 run to claim a 3-2 (15-25, 25-20, 25-21, 12-25, 17-15) win over Northern Arizona on Saturday at Florida's Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

With the win, the Lady Flames (7-5) ended the Gators Invitational with a 2-1 record, while the Lumberjacks fell to 7-5 after going 1-2 this weekend.

Liberty's Macy Phillips was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts this weekend.

Notable Numbers
• NAU held a .242-.191 advantage in hitting percentage while also leading in blocks (17-9), digs (83-75) and service aces (12-8).

• For the first time this season, four Lady Flames reached double figures in kills. Anna Gragg scored a season-high and match-high 21 kills and added six blocks. Amelia Johnson scored 12 kills while Kailey Macy's 12 kills set a new career high. Lilly Kruse recorded her first career double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs. Setters Amaya Williams (27 assists, 10 digs) and Hannah Morris (21 assists, 14 digs) both registered double-doubles, while Macy Phillips collected 22 digs and served up a career-high four aces.

• Abby Akin led NAU with 16 kills, while Heaven Harris totaled 15 kills and nine blocks and Neche Newton posted 11 rejections. Jasmine West collected a match-high 28 digs.

Head Coach Trevor Johnson
"I was so proud of our resiliency against a really good NCAA Tournament team. This was our second five-setter in two days, so I'm glad to see us find ways to win in the midst of adversity. Anna and Kailey played great for us in the middle. This was a good win for us going into conference play on Tuesday."

Match Summary

• NAU outhit Liberty .281-.143 during the opening set on the way to a 25-15 victory.

• During set two, Liberty led by one at 18-17 before ending the set on a 7-3 run to score the 25-20 set win.  

• Liberty won the set despite being outhit .300-.244, but the Lady Flames served up three aces.

• The Lady Flames went on a pair of early 4-0 rallies during the third set and held off a late NAU run to win 25-21.

• Liberty served up four aces, with three coming from Phillips. Macy and Gragg scored six kills apiece in set three.

• The Lumberjacks ran away with the fourth set, 25-12, hitting .278 compared to .030 for the Lady Flames to force a fifth set.

• NAU jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the fifth-set court change. However, Liberty chipped away and came back to tie it at 13-13. The Lady Flames fought off two match-point tries (14-13 and 15-14), ending the match on a 3-0 run for the victory.   

• Kruse and Gragg scored four kills each in set five for the Lady Flames, who hit .333 as a team.

Quick Hits
• The last time Liberty had four players with 10 or more kills in the same match was Oct. 12, 2018 against FGCU (Casey Goodwin – 19; Kainah Williams – 14; Johnson – 12; Gragg – 10).

• Before today, the last time Liberty had three players record double-doubles was Sept. 8, 2017 against Southern Utah, when Anna Willey, Victoria Baptista and Gabrielle Vess all had double-doubles.

• Liberty has won in five sets in back-to-back matches for the first time since playing and winning three straight 3-2 contests Sept. 23 through Oct. 3, 2017.

• The last time Liberty won a match after losing the first set was Sept. 17 against Virginia Tech, when the Lady Flames rallied to win in four sets after falling 25-23 in set one. 

• Liberty picked up its first-ever win over NAU, as the Lumberjacks hold a 2-1 edge in the all-time series. The last matchup before today came on Sept. 5, 2015 in Flagstaff, Ariz.

• Northern Arizona competed in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship after winning the Big Sky title.

Up Next
Liberty opens ASUN play with three straight home matches, beginning on Tuesday at 6 p.m. when the Lady Flames host defending conference champion FGCU at the Vines Center. These two teams last met in the semifinal round of the 2018 ASUN Volleyball Championship.