BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - No. 1 seed Liberty defeated No. 8 Charleston Southern, 3-0, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big South Volleyball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting Thursday afternoon at Paul Porter Arena on the campus of Gardner-Webb University.
Liberty improves to 23-7 on the year, while Charleston Southern ends its season at 13-21. Liberty will be making its sixth appearance in the Big South Volleyball Championship semifinals on Friday, taking on the winner of No. 4 Presbyterian - No. 5 Winthrop at 4:30 p.m.
Caroline Douglas spearheaded Liberty's offense with 12 kills and a .265 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Gabrielle Shipe anchored the Lady Flames' defense, posting 16 digs in the match. Charleston Southern was led by All-Freshman team selection Meredith Parrott and libero Ashley Higginbothem. Parrott put away 8 kills with a .357 hitting percentage, while Higginbothim recorded 14 digs.
"We made way too many errors to be effective today," commented head coach Al Givens following the match. "I like the way our team battled today but we have to credit Liberty with staying the course. I'm proud of our kids with their battling. We came with the expectation to win and so that's why this is very disappointing."
Liberty took the first set, 25-23. The Lady Flames jumped out to an early 9-4 lead that forced CSU head coach Al Givens to take a timeout. After play resumed, Liberty doubled its lead to 16-8 before the Bucs rallied back.
CSU capitalized on a service ace by Kayla Klinger and some errors to close the score to 21-17, but a Douglas kill put the Lady Flames back in control and Liberty closed out the set with a three-point run and concluded the set with a Douglas block.
Liberty won the second set, 25-13. Liberty turned up its offense early, jumping to a 4-1 lead within minutes. Charleston Southern rallied back with kills by Wynter Davis and Sydney Tracy. However, attacking errors haunted the Buccaneers late in the set as Liberty was able to extend its lead to 20-10. The Lady Flames scored three more points off of Becca Haraf's serves. Klinger tried to restart CSU's offense with a kill and Tracy and Davis added points but a Loren Thomas kill ended the second set.
The third set was a thriller but Liberty pulled out the set, 25-23 to take the match, 3-0. Charleston Southern took the lead early during Siraya Windsor's serves. Errors with Liberty's attack extended the Buccaneers lead to 10-5. A pair of service aces from Liberty's Kendle Rollins and heavy hitting from Liberty's offense brought the Lady Flames back to 10-11. Both teams went back and forth, with hitting errors giving the other side a slight advantage. Down at 22-20, Liberty went on a four point run during Shipe's serve to take the lead, and Rollins ended the match with a kill from Jade Craycraft.
Tracy and Davis had seven kills apiece for the Lady Bucs as CSU hit .174 from the floor in the match, while Struksnes set up the attack with 26 assists. Klinger added nine digs, while Struksnes had eight defensively in the final match of the season.