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Lady Flames Tame Wildcats In Five-Game Victory
Playing in their first non-tournament match of the season, the Lady Flames fell behind early as Davidson won two out of the first three games, but Liberty rallied to win the overall match by claiming victory in the final three games to pick up a 3-2 win (30-24, 18-30, 28-30, 30-22, 15-13), Tuesday evening, at Belk Arena.
In the opening game, Davidson (1-7) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the Lady Flames quickly battled back as an Autum Poorman kill knotted the game at 7-7. Liberty (4-5) never trailed over the remainder of the game and scored nine of the last 12 points to clinch the game, 30-24, on a Kendall Nichols kill.
However, the Wildcats answered back in the second game as Davidson scored five of the first six points in the game and never looked back as the home team closed out the game on a 10-2 run to tie the match at one game apiece with the convincing 30-18 win.
After the break, neither team could gain much of an advantage to start out the third game until a kill by Katie Pierucci gave Davidson an 18-14 edge. Liberty slowly chipped away at the advantage and even took a 25-24 lead on a Nichols kill, assisted by Lara Bartolomeo, only to see the Wildcats string together a 5-2 run late to sneak away with the 30-28 victory.
The fourth game continued the back-and-forth battle until the Lady Flames reeled of eight-consecutive points to take a 19-11 lead, aided by five Wildcat attack errors and block assists by Ashley Webber, Janell Migeot and Jessica Nelson on two separate plays. The closest that Davidson would get over the remainder of the game was five points on a service ace, but Liberty was able the keep the Wildcats at bay and force a decisive fifth game with a 30-22 win.
The Lady Flames looked like they were going to be in trouble early in the final game as Davidson jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead; however, the Lady Flames strung together another scoring streak as Liberty scored 10 out of the next 11 points to gain a 10-4 edge.
The home team tried to make the final game interesting as the Wildcats pulled within one point at 13-12, but Jessica Nelson sealed the victory for the Lady Flames with a pair of kills to give Liberty a 15-13 final game win.
"These girls are going to give me a heart attack, but seriously, it is tough to win on the road," commented head coach Shane Pinder. "We were coming off a big win over William & Mary this weekend and I was a little bit worried because this was our first mid-week game."
"Davidson came out looking for a win, but our girls came out with a lot of resolve. Being able to come back from a 2-1 deficit is the sign of a good team. I am very proud of our effort tonight."
For the match, the Lady Flames were paced by Nichols' season-high 21 kills and 15 digs, while Nelson followed with her fourth double-double of the year with 17 kills and 16 digs. Allison Hallock tallied a season-high 24 digs, while Bartolomeo added 48 assists and 14 digs.
The Wildcats had three players finish with double figure kills as Pierucci led the team with 20 kills and 16 digs, while Liz Williamson followed with 18 digs and 13 kills and Kittery Neale added 10 kills
The Lady Flames will return to tournament action for the final time this regular season as they travel to Charlottesville, Va., to participate in the 2005 Fairfield Inn Jefferson Cup Tournament, hosted by Virginia. Liberty will face Albany on Friday and close out action against the Cavaliers and Appalachian State on Saturday.