Sep 9, 2008

Lady Flames Sweep Invitational, start 6-0

by Brittany Watson

The Lady Flames, now 6-0, finished their second consecutive undefeated tournament this weekend at the Patriot Invitational, where they overpowered Saint Francis, host George Mason and Rutgers.

The Lady Flames opened the invitational with a 3-0 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) Friday morning. Liberty broke a school record against Saint Francis, hitting .483 as a team.

The next match against host George Mason proved to be more of a challenge. The Lady Flames had to fight back from a slow start before they could put an end to the Patriots with a 3-1 win (23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-18).

The Patriots came out swinging in the first set and soon led 11-2. Liberty fought back and was able to tie it up at 23-23. Despite the valiant comeback, George Mason took the opening set at 25-23.

Sophomore Karyl Bacon and junior Chelaine McCarty each had three kills.

Liberty trailed the Patriots once again in the second set 9-8. The Lady Flames quickly sprang ahead with a great offensive attack and did not trail again for the rest of the match. They ended the second set with a 25-18 victory.

The team hit .483 and all six starters had two or more kills each. Bacon and senior outside hitter Jessica Nelson had four kills each.
With adrenaline still pumping from the second set, the Lady Flames had a quick third set victory of 25-20. As a team, Liberty hit .278. McCarty contributed five kills and an attack percentage of .571. Freshman Kelly Haseman had eight digs which helped put the Patriots at only a .152 attack percentage.

The Lady Flames’ excellent defense helped push Liberty to an 11-5 lead in the fourth and final set. Bacon and Nelson ended the match with back-to-back kills giving Liberty a 25-18 win. Bacon and Nelson had five kills each.

Overall, Liberty had a combined .326 attack percentage against George Mason. Bacon had a match-high and season-high of 15 kills, hit a season-best .419 and tied her season-high of eight digs.

Nelson had a season-best 13 kills while McCarty also had her highest of 12 kills to go along with a .611 attack percentage. Right side hitter Brittany Pacella finished with 10 kills, seven digs and five assists.

Junior Kallie Corbin ran the offense with a season-high of 47 assists, six kills, 13 digs and a pair of aces.

Haseman finished with a team season-high of 21 digs, while senior Ashley Webber had five of Liberty’s six blocks.

The Lady Flames finished the Patriot Invitational with a 3-1 victory over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon (24-26, 25-13, 25-16, 26-14).
Offensively, both the Lady Flames and the Scarlet Knights were on. Rutgers averaged .423 as a team while Liberty averaged .367.

The first set was a nail-biter. The set had a tied score nine times. However, Rutgers pulled through with a 26-24 victory.

Thompson and Caitlin Saxton each contributed six kills, while Pacella hit .667 and had five kills.

Nicki Scripko, who had been battling an illness during the tournament, started off with a kill that set the pace for the second set.

Scripko ended with seven kills during the second set , which helped lead Liberty to a 25-13 win.

One of Pacella’s four kills put an end to the second set for the Lady Flames.

Pacella kept dishing out the kills in the third set. With Liberty leading 10-8, Pacella provided a block along with back-to-back kills to push the Lady Flames to a five-point lead. With five more kills from Pacella, the third set ended in a 25-16 victory for Liberty.

In the fourth and final set, Liberty ended the match with a 26-14 win on an 11-2 run.

Scripko contributed six kills and four digs, while Nelson added four kills to the Lady Flames victory.

Webber and Haseman shone defensively. Webber had a match-high of six blocks, while Haseman led the team with 16 digs.
Pacella had a career-high of 14 kills along with eight digs and four blocks. Nelson added 10 of her own kills.

Corbin finished the contest with 48 assists and eight digs.

Scripko had a season-high of 18 kills, hitting .500, along with three aces and nine digs.

The Lady Flames finished the tournament with a .363 attack percentage.

Pacella said she was excited going into the tournament because, “it’s going to be a good opportunity to see how we were going to identify ourselves as a team.”

After another 3-0 weekend, head coach Shane Pinder says his team’s confidence is up for its upcoming games and the rest of the season.

“This weekend, the girls had to win in different ways,” Coach Pinder said. “Against St. Francis they had to focus and execute the skills they knew they possessed. Against George Mason and Rutgers, the girls had to fight back to prove they could come from behind and defeat the competition.”

“Whether they’re winning easily or struggling to stay alive, the girls play consistently and are very strong,” Pinder said.

This weekend, 12 girls got to play in the Invitational and the Lady Flames were able to walk away undefeated with two different lineups.

Liberty will be on the road again Tuesday as it faces in-state rival James Madison at 7 p.m.


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