Sep 29, 2009

Lady Flames beat Winthrop, Coastal & sweep weekend

by Chris McNair

Coming off a tough loss the previous week at Duke, the Lady Flames opened up Big South play by hosting the Winthrop Eagles Friday evening at the Vines Center.

The 488 fans on hand at the Vines Center were treated to a marathon-like fifth set, which lasted 30 minutes and included 17 ties. The match finally came to an end when Winthrop’s Kelsey Hall committed a ball-handling error, making the final score 27-25, in favor of the Lady Flames.

It was a career night for Liberty’s Kelly Haseman, who recorded a career-high 23 digs, exceeding the 20-dig mark for the fourth time this season.

Other contributors were setter Kallie Corbin, who recorded 47 assists and a season-high 16 digs, and Chelaine McCarty, who hit a match-high .355 with a season-best 15 kills.

“I wanted to really just kill them in three because it’s Winthrop and I love beating Winthrop,” McCarty said.

Junior Nicki Scripko also played well, leading all players with six kills during the middle stanza. She was also one of two Lady Flames to record a double-double on Friday, with 16 digs and 19 kills.

Coming off the loss against a formidable opponent in Duke, a young Flames squad responded in a way characteristic of a veteran team..

Liberty volleyball Head Coach Shane Pinder believes that the youth on their team are the focal point of this challenge.

“You’re talking about a young team in a lot of positions. Tonight we had three true freshmen on the floor, and freshmen tend to play with their confidence,” Pinder said. The fifth set had a “seesaw effect”, as both teams kept scoring alternatively. According to Pinder, that was simply a result of both teams’ heart and poise.

“You saw two tough teams with a lot of heart in that situation that were both playing well with a lot of confidence and nobody wanted to lose,” Pinder said.

“Our kids’ poise — again, they never gave the lead up down the stretch. We always kept the advantage,” Pinder said.

The Lady Flames hosted the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Vines Center.

In this rematch of the 2008 Big South Championship title contest, Chelaine McCarty recorded a career-high 22 kills and match-high eight blocks, helping Liberty capture the win against the Chanticleers.

McCarty got off to a fast start in the opening stanza, with five of her 22 kills coming during a 13-6 surge. The Chanticleers answered with a 9-1 run of their own, reclaiming the lead at 15-14.

Aided by strong play from Sierra Livesay, reigning Big South Player of the Week, the Chanticleers were triumphant in the first set. She hit .444 with five kills.

Because of Coastal Carolina’s strong play as of late, Coach Pinder knew that they would be difficult to beat coming off big wins over High Point and Wake Forest. According to Pinder, teamwork and players stepping up in the clutch is getting Liberty wins.

“Every night so far in our wins there’s been a different kid step up to get us to that point, so that’s the great thing about this team, a lot of people can do it,” Pinder sai

Pinder also hinted at a possible comeback for Karyl Bacon next match versus Radford, depending on her jumping ability at the end of the week.

Setter Kallie Corbin believes that with this win, as well as the win over Winthrop, they have sent a message to the Big South.

“We want to send a message to the Big South saying we are supposed to be number one,” Corbin said.

The Lady Flames will be on the road for eight of their next 10 matches. The stretch begins Friday at 7 p.m., when they visit Presbyterian. Liberty will aim to avenge a 3-2 loss at the Templeton Center last season.

Contact Chris McNair at cjmcnair@liberty.edu.
 


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