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James Madison Defeats Lady Flames in Four Games
Halls led all players with 18 kills and added six blocks, while Pierson missed the Vines Center record by a single dig, finishing the match with 40. As a result, JMU improves to 7-5. Meanwhile, Liberty falls to 8-6, despite owning a 15-6 advantage in team blocks.
The opening game proved to be the most competitive of the night. It did not start out that way, though. Visiting James Madison took advantage of a number of Liberty attack and service errors to run out to a 15-5 lead. The Lady Flames then started to heat up, led by the spiking of Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan). Nelson recorded three kills during a 15-5 Liberty surge, which produced the first of 10 ties in the stanza, 22-all.
The Dukes were on the verge of taking game one when a Kaitlin McFaddin kill made it 29-27, James Madison. But Liberty reeled off the next three points, earning a match point at 30-29 after one of Nicki Scripko's (Fr., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) six game one kills. JMU bounced back, however, wrapping up a 34-32 win on a Liberty attack error. Eight of Halls' kills came in the opening stanza.
Game two was tightly contested through the early stages, and Liberty owned a slim, 11-10 edge near the midway point. The Lady Flames then took over the net and dominated the latter half of the game, scoring 19 of the final 24 points. Five of the Liberty points during the game-ending run came courtesy of blocks. In total, coach Shane Pinder's charges posted six blocks during their 30-15 win. Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) had a hand in five of the blocks and added a trio of kills for Liberty.
JMU led the third game from start to finish, scoring the first two points and never looking back. Lindsay Callahan carried the Dukes' offensive load with six kills. The visitors hit .385 during the stanza and limited Liberty to .135 in the 30-22 decision.
The fourth and final game featured a pair of significant momentum shifts. Liberty broke open a close match with a 15-4 run, which put the Lady Flames up by a 21-12 margin and seemingly on their way to forcing a fifth game. Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.) recorded three kills during the extended run.
Almost before the 440 fans in attendance realized it, James Madison got right back into the match. The Dukes put 15 of the next 17 points onto the scoreboard to quickly retake command of the game and build a 27-23 lead of their own. Halls served for nine-consecutive points during the middle of the run. Liberty was unable to respond with a final counterattack and dropped the final game to its in-state rival, 30-26.
Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) starred offensively for the Lady Flames, hitting .382 with a career-high 15 kills. Scripko and Nelson each finished with double-doubles. Scripko's line included 11 kills, 11 digs, and a season-best and match-high seven blocks. Nelson added 11 kills and 13 digs.
Sanders made it four Liberty players with double-figure kills, posting 10 kills, half of which came in the final game. Reigning Big South Player of the Week Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) compiled five kills, 49 assists and five digs. Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) came up with a team-high 19 digs during her 100th career match as a Lady Flame.
Halls and Pierson were not coach Disa Garner's only standout performers. Callahan (15 kills), Michelle Johnson (12 kills) and McFaddin (11 kills) all contributed to a balanced attack, and setter Lauren Miles led all players with 51 assists.
Liberty will begin its slate of 12 Big South Conference matches Saturday afternoon, with a trip to Radford. The Lady Flames' contest versus the Highlanders is set for a 2 p.m. start at the Dedmon Center.