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Maryland Edges Lady Flames in Five Games
Liberty won two of the first three games of Friday's middle match at the tournament, but was unable to close out its first victory over an ACC opponent since 2004. The Lady Flames, who suffered their second-straight loss, are 2-2 on the young season. Maryland, which started a pair of 6-3 players, used 13 blocks to boost its season ledger to 3-1.
The Lady Flames got off to a good start in the opening game, using a Nicki Scripko (Fr., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) kill on the opening point to kick start a 3-0 surge. Liberty led almost the entire way until a 5-0 Maryland burst made it 18-16, Terrapins.
Maryland's superior height at the net keyed the Terrapins' resurgence. Maryland, which recorded three blocks during the opening game and held Liberty to a -.021 attack percentage in the stanza, ended the game on a 12-3 run to claim a 30-21 decision.
Once again, Liberty took an early lead to open game two. After Maryland had controlled game one with its blocking, the Lady Flames turned the tables a bit. Scripko and Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) combined on a block on the game's very first rally, initiating a 3-0 Liberty run.
It was the Lady Flames' aggressive serving which turned the tide in the second game, however. Liberty served up five of its nine aces in the game, including back-to-back aces off the right hand of Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) that capped a 9-2 surge and put Liberty up, 14-11.
Scripko came up with two aces of her own during an eight-point serving run, which really broke the game open and left Liberty on top, 27-16. McCarty and Karyl Bacon (Fr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) added a pair of kills apiece during the extended surge, sending the Lady Flames on their way to a 30-21 triumph.
With the match evened at one game apiece, Liberty led from wire-to-wire in the pivotal game three, starting out with three-consecutive points yet again. The opportunistic Lady Flames took advantage of numerous Maryland errors of various forms. For example, the Terrapins committed two ball-handling errors and a service error during an 8-2 Liberty surge, which put the Lady Flames up, 25-18. For the second-consecutive game, Webber pounded home a kill on match point, giving her team a 30-27 victory in game three and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Its back against the wall, Maryland came out firing in the fourth game. The Terrapins went on an early 6-0 run to take an 8-2 advantage. The Lady Flames battled back to take a pair of single-point advantages. They went up, 16-15, when 5-6 Bacon blocked 6-3 Maryland outside hitter Mary Beth Brown.
The Terrapins were able to utilize their height during the remainder of the game, though, notching three blocks during an ensuing 10-4 run. Maryland went on to send Liberty to its first five-game match of the year with a 30-21 decision.
Maryland quickly took over the fifth and deciding game, ripping off seven-straight points to take a commanding, 8-2 lead. The Terrapins hit an impressive .647 in their 15-7, game five triumph, paced by Katie Usher, one of the team's twin towers. She recorded four kills during the fifth game, on her way to match-high totals in kills (18) and attack percentage (.236).
Bacon and Scripko led Liberty's attack with nine kills each. Scripko filled up much of the stat sheet, adding 10 digs, five block assists, three assists and two aces.
McCarty played a solid, all-around match for the Lady Flames, notching eight kills on a team-high .286 attack percentage and adding a match-best four aces. Fellow middle blocker Webber had a hand in six of the Lady Flames' 10 blocks.
Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) led Liberty with 34 assists, while Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) recorded a team-high 19 digs.
Beth Gillming (13 kills, 19 digs) and Maggie Schmelzle (11 kills, 16 digs) both put together double-doubles for Maryland. Hayley Hanson, one of two setters utilized by the Terrapins, paced all players with 38 assists on the evening.
Liberty will return to action at the VCU 3rd Degree Sportswear Invitational on Saturday, with a pair of matches scheduled. The Lady Flames will face George Washington in the day's first match at the Alltel Pavilion, at 9 a.m. Liberty will then wrap up its weekend with a 2 p.m. match against host VCU.