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Host VCU Prevails Over Liberty, 3-1
Liberty is now 3-3 through its first six matches of the 2007 season. Meanwhile, the Rams' victory was their first of the year. At the time, VCU was 1-4, but the Rams ended the day at 1-5 after suffering a loss to unbeaten tournament champion Maryland in the nightcap.
Maryland's Katie Usher was named tournament MVP, and Lady Flame sophomore setter Kallie Corbin (Beaverton, Ore.) made her second all-tournament team in as many weeks. Last weekend, Corbin was tabbed MVP of the Liberty Invitational Presented by Pepsi.
Things did not start out so well for the Lady Flames in the first game. A five-point serving run by VCU setter Cat Juson helped the home team run out to a 20-12 advantage. Liberty then turned the tide with a 14-2 run, initiated by consecutive Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) kills.
The Rams rallied from a four-point deficit to level the score at 26 apiece. Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) put down a kill on the next point to give Liberty the edge for good in its 30-28 game one win. Karyl Bacon (Fr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) recorded the winning point on a kill of her own. McCarty was the key to Liberty's attack in game one, though, posting kills on six of her seven attacks.
VCU never trailed in game two, as the Rams were able to even the match at one game apiece heading into the intermission. Jessica Ojukwu came up with seven of her match-high 17 kills during the game, which ended with the home team on top, 30-26.
Webber crushed a kill on the opening point of game three, getting the Lady Flames off on the right foot. Liberty's lead was short-lived, though, as VCU answered with a 6-0 surge, highlighted by consecutive blocks. On the afternoon, the Rams posted 12 blocks, eight of which involved Ivana Rich. VCU never trailed again after its run, claiming a 30-25 triumph.
Game four was the most tightly-contested stanza of the match. The score was tied 17 times and the lead changed hands seven times. Liberty appeared poised to force its third-straight, five-game match on the weekend, when the Lady Flames opened up a 24-20 lead. VCU scored the ensuing four points, though, tying the score at 24 on a Kelsie Sugg kill.
Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.), who gave head coach Shane Pinder quality play off the bench, as she had during Saturday morning's marathon victory over George Washington, knotted things up at 27 apiece with one of her season-best 10 kills. The Rams then ripped off the final three points of the match, claiming their first win of the season with a 30-27 game four decision.
Corbin aided her all-tournament team resume by putting notches in nearly every column of the stat sheet. She finished with 38 assists, 21 digs, four aces, three kills and a pair of blocks. The dig and ace totals both represented season highs for the sophomore.
Bacon notched her fifth double-double of the year, tallying 13 kills and 18 digs. Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) hustled her way to a match-high 24 digs. After her fast start, McCarty ended with nine kills and four blocks, including two of the solo variety. Webber's 10 kills made it three Lady Flames in double digits in the category.
Libero Laryssa Goncalves led VCU with 17 digs. Juson ended with 15 digs of her own, complementing her team-best 27 assists. Ojukwu, Belinda Behncke-Biney and Mariel Frey, all of whom are freshmen, each hit over .400 for the Rams.
Liberty will return to action on Friday at the Wright State Raider Challenge, in Dayton, Ohio. The first of three Lady Flame matches at the event will be a 5 p.m. Friday contest against South Florida.