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Balanced Attack Pushes Lady Flames to 2-0
Liberty and Duquesne won Friday's two matches at the invitational. With the setback, the Dukes fall to 1-1, as the Lady Flames evened up the all-time series with Duquesne at one match apiece.
Duquesne, of the Atlantic 10 Conference, took the early lead in Saturday's opening game. A trio of Nicole Wright kills enabled the Dukes to go up, 8-5. Liberty then claimed the advantage on Kallie Corbin's (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) serve. Corbin served up five-straight points, including back-to-back kills by outside hitter Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., Tokyo, Japan), to put the Lady Flames on top by a 10-8 count.
The run initiated an extended, 16-7 surge by the home team. Another Nelson kill, one of six for her in game one, made it 21-15, Lady Flames. Duquesne would not close to within four points the rest of the way. The roles reversed on the final point of Liberty's 30-24 victory, as Nelson set up a game-ending kill by Corbin.
Duquesne scored game two's first point, but was the only Dukes' of the stanza. Nelson recorded a service ace and a kill during Liberty's ensuing, 5-1 burst, which put the Lady Flames up for good.
Liberty's lead grew to 10 points, 22-12, when freshman Karyl Bacon (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) notched consecutive aces. Classmate Nicki Scripko (OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) put the finishing touches on the Lady Flames' 30-19 win with a powerful kill, sending her team into the intermission with a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Flames roared out of the gate in game three, tallying six of the first seven points. They led by a 12-9 margin, before Duquesne libero Amy Palko began an incredible serving run. She posted seven-straight points to lift the Dukes to a 17-12 advantage.
A Corbin kill halted the rally, and then, Liberty knotted the match at 17 on Corbin's serve. The Lady Flames took a 24-21 lead, after a Bacon kill. However, Duquesne finished the match in a strong fashion. Another mini-serving run by Palko keyed a 7-2 surge, which put the Dukes up for good. Game three's final score was 30-28, as Duquesne pushed the match to a fourth game.
The final game started out as another nip-and-tuck contest. Liberty and Duquesne were tied on nine occasions, the last of which came at 13-13. The Lady Flames' attacking power turned out to be too much for the Dukes to handle, however. Liberty totaled 20 kills in game four, including five apiece by Bacon, Nelson and Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.).
Three of Bacon's kills came during a 5-0 surge, which finally broke the game open for the Lady Flames, making the score 18-13. Liberty would lead by as many as nine points before wrapping up win number two on the weekend, 30-22.
For the second-straight match to start her career, Bacon paced the Lady Flames in kills (18), digs (27) and aces (3). Nelson and Scripko also recorded double-doubles. Nelson finished the contest with 16 kills and 19 digs. Scripko's first career double-double consisted of 10 kills, 13 digs and six assists.
Corbin fashioned a solid, all-around match for Liberty, coming up with nine kills on a team-high .471 attack percentage, totaling 50 assists and recording six digs. Webber ended with 13 kills and a team-high four block assists.
Jessica Artman led three Dukes in double-figures in the kill category, posting 14 to go along with 14 digs. Dana McLaughlin was Duquesne's leader with 18 digs, while Kristen Hammergren had a hand in six of her team's nine blocks.