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Lady Flames Sweep Princeton for Third-Straight Win

September 14, 2007
|  Villanova, Pa.
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Chelaine McCarty (left) helped Liberty get off to a fast start in its sweep of Princeton, posting six kills and two blocks in the opening game.

Chelaine McCarty (left) helped Liberty get off to a fast start in its sweep of Princeton, posting six kills and two blocks in the opening game.

Liberty sophomore middle blocker Chelaine McCarty sparked a 9-1 run to end game one against Princeton, Friday afternoon at Villanova's Nevin Fieldhouse. Her efforts enabled the Lady Flames to come from behind in the opening game against the Tigers and propelled Liberty to a 3-0 (30-26, 30-23, 30-25) sweep in their first match at the Villanova Classic.

Liberty is now 6-4 to start the year after winning its third-consecutive match. The winning streak is Liberty's longest since a three-match run spanning Nov. 9-16, 2004. Meanwhile, Princeton, which only lost three matches during the entire 2006 season, is 2-3 so far in 2007.

The Lady Flames led, 10-6, early in the opening game, after Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) recorded a kill. An ensuing 8-2 Princeton run, featuring three Lindsey Ensign kills, shifted the momentum in the Tigers' favor and put the Ivy Leaguers up, 14-12.

Princeton's Parker Henritze provided three kills of her own during a 7-3 Tiger burst later in the opening game, which pushed the advantage to 25-21. McCarty (Houston, Ala.) then nearly single-handedly swung the match in Liberty's favor. She recorded three-straight kills and five total during the aforementioned 9-1 burst. Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) then finished off Liberty's 30-26 triumph with a kill.

In the first game, McCarty led the way for Liberty, tallying six kills on eight attack attempts and adding two solo blocks. As a team, the Lady Flames hit .341 during the stanza and posted four blocks.

Emboldened by its run at the end of game one, Liberty quickly seized control of the second game. Nicki Scripko (Fr., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) book ended a 6-0 Lady Flame surge with kills. The burst left Liberty on top, 11-5, and the Tigers got no closer than four the rest of the way.

Fittingly, a kill by Nelson closed out the 30-23 Liberty victory in the middle game. The outside hitter racked up an astounding .889 attack percentage in the stanza, notching eight kills in nine swings. Again, the Lady Flames were efficient offensively, finishing with a .371 attack percentage during game two.

Game three proved to be the most competitive of the afternoon, including 14 ties and six lead changes. Henritze served during a 6-0 Princeton run, lifting the Tigers to a 21-19 edge. Liberty responded immediately, taking advantage of several Princeton errors to score six of the next seven points and take the lead for good, 25-22. Liberty's 30-25, match-ending victory was aided by 12 attack errors by the Tigers.

McCarty ended the match as one of three Lady Flames with 10 or more kills. She had exactly 10 kills and added two of her squad's three aces. Nelson added her fourth-straight double-double, contributing a match-high 14 kills and 12 digs. Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.) reached double figures for the fourth time in five matches, racking up 10 kills and seven digs.

Defensively, Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Scripko tallied 16 and 10 digs, respectively. Karyl Bacon (Fr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.), returning from an injury which had sidelined her for three matches, chipped in with seven digs. Corbin also added seven digs, to go along with 40 assists, four kills and four blocks.

Ensign and Henritze headlined Princeton's attack. Ensign hit .500 with a team-best 13 kills, while Henritze, who wears number 12, matched her uniform numeral in both kills and digs.

Liberty will be back in action this evening at 7:30 p.m., when the Lady Flames square off with the host Villanova Wildcats, concluding the opening day of the Villanova Classic.