LYNCHBURG, Va., Sept. 25, 2012 – Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) reached a pair of career milestones, but Liberty hit .276 as a team to earn a 3-0 win over the James Madison volleyball team at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday night.
LU won by set scores of 26-24, 25-21, 25-23 to extend its home winning streak to eight matches. The Flames improved to 11-4 on the season while the Dukes dropped to 8-7 overall.
Erb finished with season-highs with 17 kills and 16 digs to lead JMU. She added two service aces and an assist. The senior moved into seventh on the school’s all-time kills list with 1,138 passing Emilee Hussack (2002-05) on the list. She also moved into a tie for ninth on the school’s all-time aces list with her 115th, tying with Karla Gessler (1997-00).
Sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) added eight kills on .300 hitting and had two digs and two service aces. Senior setter Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) added a double-double with 38 assists, 10 digs and three kills while junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had 12 digs, three assists and an ace. Freshman outside hitter MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) came off the bench to contribute seven kills and nine digs. The rookie hit .538, connecting on seven kills in 13 attempts with no errors.
Liberty was paced by outside hitter Caroline Douglas with 17 kills on .286 hitting. Middle blocker Kendle Rollins chipped in five kills and six blocks while middle blocker Loren Thomas had nine kills on .412 hitting and a block. Setter Jade Craycraft led the Flames to a .276 attack percentage as a team, handing out 34 assists and adding 10 digs, five kills and three blocks. Outside hitter Ansley Gebben finished with a match-high 23 digs and nine kills.
Liberty outhit JMU .276 to .209 and had a 7-1 lead in blocks. The Dukes won the serving battle with five aces to four for the Flames.
The first set was tight throughout with LU striking the first blow by climbing out to a four-point lead at 14-10 and forcing JMU to call timeout. Madison got the lead down to as little as two at 21-19, but the Flames responded to a timeout by head coach Shane Pinder with a three-point run to reach its first set point at 24-19. Madison fought off five consecutive set points to tie the score at 24-24, but was unable to overcome the deficit completely, dropping the set 26-24.
LU came out hot in set two, building to an 8-4 lead and forcing JMU head coach Lauren Steinbrecher to use a timeout. The Flames built their lead to as much at five and never let Madison get closer than three. They eventually closed out the set 25-21.
JMU trailed wire-to-wire in set three as LU won the first three points and five of the first six. JMU fought its way back into the set at 12-10, but ceded a 5-0 run to fall behind 17-10. The Dukes again battled back into the set, winning 11 of the next 16 points to get as close as 22-21. Out of a timeout, Liberty and JMU traded points with Douglas eventually putting the set and match away with a kill down the line.
JMU is back in action on Saturday, Sept. 29 as it hosts George Mason in a Colonial Athletic Association match at Sinclair Gymnasium.
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