Oct 21, 2008

Lady Flames fall to HPU 3-2, sweep Winthrop 3-0

by Brittany Watson

It was quite the battle for first place in the Big South Tuesday evening at the Vines Center between Liberty and High Point before the Panthers were able to pull ahead with a 3-2 (25-23. 21-25, 24-26, 25-22, 15-13) triumph.

The first set showed right away that both teams were playing to win as the score tied 17 times and the lead changed hands seven times. With the score tied at 23, High Point pushed ahead with a kill and an attack error on Liberty that gave the Panthers the 25-23 win.

Sophomore Nicki Scripko started out the first set with a career high of six kills and a pair of aces.
The Panthers started out the second set with a 8-6 lead, but the Lady Flames gave them a run for their money with a 6-0 surge that included a trio of aces. Liberty did not look back as they finished the set on Brittany Pacella’s game winning kill giving them a 25-21 victory.

Scripko added fives kills, five digs and two aces to the second set. Pacella, who had a .667 attack percentage, added her own four kills. The Lady Flames held the Panthers to a .188 attack percentage during the second set.
The third set tied at 23 before Liberty raised the score to 25-24. Scripko finished off the third set with a kill giving the Lady Flames a 26-24 win.

Scripko had another five kills and five digs during the third set.

The Panthers came out swinging during the fourth stanza, never giving up the lead. Despite Liberty’s 16 kills, High Point won the set 25-22. Scripko had six of her team’s kills.

With High Point claiming a lead early in set five, Chelaine McCarty started a surge with two blocks and two kills that gave Liberty a 9-8 lead. The Panther’s fought back for the lead and soon pushed the score to 12-9. Despite the Lady Flame’s surge, the Panthers tookthe set and match with a 15-13 victory.

Statistically, Liberty beat High Point in kills (71-60), aces (9-3), digs (79-72), and blocks (7-5).

Scripko had one of her best matches in her career with an astonishing 26 kills, five aces, and 15 kills. Scripko’s 26 kills were the most by a Liberty player since current Assistant Coach Jennifer Vaden set he record in 2004.

Outside Hitter Jessica Nelson had her third double-double of the season with 11 kills and 12 digs. Ashley Webber, who hit .409, also contributed 11 kills and McCarty had 10.

Setter Kallie Corbin had a season-high of 60 assists and 15 digs during the match, while Karyl Bacon had a season-high of 23 digs.
Coach Shane Pinder said he had to give credit to High Point. “They played really well and didn’t make errors. They pressured Liberty and forced us to play well.”

“The girls fought hard and are ready to continue in the season,” Coach Pinder said.

The Lady Flames got their groove back with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-15) sweep of Winthrop Friday evening, becoming the first team to beat the Eagle’s 34-match, home winning streak, which dates back to Oct. 31, 2003.

Liberty beat Winthrop with the help of Senior Ashley Webber’s record breaking hitting average of .875.

The Lady Flames started off the first set with a 6-0 surge, sparked by a kill by Scripko. She then went on to serve for five consecutive points. Liberty was able to put a end to set one with back-to-back kills by Bacon, giving the Lady Flames a 25-17 decision.
Bacon led the way with five kills and six digs in just the first set. Nelson added her own five digs to the first set. Webber started off her record breaking average by going four for four.

The Eagles fought hard during set two, trailing by just one at 18-17. McCarty helped Liberty surge ahead with a kill and then servingfor four consecutive points. The Lady Flames then sailed to a 25-19 victory.

Webber hit .833 in the second set with five kills, while Bacon had a set-high of 10 digs.

Winthrop took the lead early in the third set, but McCarty served, yet again, for four consecutive points. Along with a trio of back-to-back kills by Webber, the Lady Flames took the match with a 25-15 triumph.

Bacon had an amazing 11 digs in the third stanza, while Webber and Scripko each had five kills.

Webber had 14 kills on just 16 attack attempts, giving her a .875 attack percentage and breaking the previous percentage of .871 set in 1989.

McCarty and Scripko each had 11 kills for the match. Bacon had an impressive 27 digs, while Nelson had 17 to contribute as well. Corbin led the team with 39 assists and 3 blocks.

Bacon and Nelson switched roles during Friday’s game, with Nelson at Libero and Bacon as outside hitter. Nelson said this showed the versatility of the team by being able to switch positions and still come out with a win.

“It was good to see the girls bounce back after the game against High Point,” Coach Pinder said. “They put the pressure on Winthrop and were very strong defensively and made the plays they needed to win the game.”

Liberty is now 16-6 overall and 7-1 in the Big South conference, just one match behind High Point, who is now leading the conference. Winthrop has now fallen 3-4 in conference standings.

Liberty will have three home matches this week, starting Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Radford, who the Lady Flames have already swept once this season.


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