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Lady Flames Defeat Coastal Carolina, 3-0, Move Into Second Place
The Liberty volleyball team doubled up visiting Coastal Carolina in kills, 60-30, en route to its second-straight 3-0 (30-15, 30-22, 30-25) sweep of a conference opponent, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center. The victory boosts the Lady Flames into second place in the Big South standings.
Liberty, which has won four of its last five matches, bumps its record to 12-7 overall and 4-1 in the Big South. The Lady Flames are one-half game behind Winthrop for the conference lead. The visiting Chanticleers are 11-9 overall and 3-1 in conference action, after dropping their first Big South match of the season.
The last time Coastal Carolina visited the Vines Center, on Nov. 14, 2006, the sixth-seeded Chanticleers eliminated the third-seeded Lady Flames from the Big South Championship with a 3-1 triumph. Ironically, four players who were not on Liberty's active roster that evening—Karyl Bacon (Fr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.), Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.), Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) and Nicki Scripko (Fr., RS/OH, Fayetteville, N.C.)—played major roles for the Lady Flames on Saturday, helping their team exact a measure of revenge.
Two-time reigning Big South Freshman of the Week Chelsy Kimes notched Coastal Carolina's first two kills of the match, helping the Chanticleers take three early, one-point advantages, the last of which came at 3-2. A pair of Liberty rookies, Scripko and Bacon, served during an ensuing 6-1 burst, which gave the Lady Flames a lead they did not relinquish. Both Lady Flame freshmen contributed an ace to the run.
From that point, Liberty cruised to victory, outhitting its opponent, .306 to .032. McCarty was a perfect four-for-four on attacks during the game, while setter Kallie Corbin (So., Beaverton, Ore.) provided three kills, 11 assists and three digs.
Scripko and Bacon got the Lady Flames started off on the right foot once again in the second game, initiating a 5-0 run with consecutive kills. Liberty owned a 14-9 advantage, before Coastal Carolina put together its best stretch of the afternoon.
The Chanticleers scored 11 of the next 14 points, retaking the lead at 20-17. Five of CCU's markers came via blocks, and Megan Bickford had a hand in three of the blocks. The visitors maintained a 22-20 edge, before Liberty ran off 10-consecutive points to close out a 30-22 win. Senior Lara Bartolomeo (L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) served for the final nine points, three of which came courtesy of Bacon kills.
Scripko hit .467 with nine kills during game two, enabling the Lady Flames to overcome the strong play of Bickford, also a freshman. Bickford converted both of her attacks into kills during the middle game and notched four block assists.
Coastal Carolina, down 2-0, did not go down without a fight. The Chanticleers ripped off the first three points of the third game. Their lead was short-lived, though, as Liberty bounced back with an 11-3 surge, opening up a five-point margin. Back-to-back kills by Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) got the Lady Flames' run going.
Coastal Carolina narrowed the gap to a single point, 24-23, after Nakia Thompson led a quick, 3-0 burst. The senior was involved in all three points, with a kill and a pair of block assists.
Scripko pounded down a kill on the next point and added two more kills as part of a match-closing 6-2 Liberty surge. McCarty put the finishing touches on the Lady Flames' 30-25 decision with a kill of her own.
Nelson paced all players in both kills (7) and digs (5) during the final stanza. Meanwhile, Scripko hit .625 in the game and Corbin distributed 23 assists.
Scripko ended with a match-high 17 kills and a career-high .448 attack percentage. Nelson chipped in with her 13th double-double of the year, consisting of 13 kills and 12 digs. McCarty also reached double figures offensively, coming up with 10 kills and hitting .389.
Corbin posted 50 assists, the most she has ever tallied in a three-game sweep, and added nine digs. Bartolomeo once again led Liberty with 16 digs from the libero spot, and Bacon provided a dozen digs.
The Chanticleers fell despite totaling 12 blocks to Liberty's five. Bickford, Jill Nyhof and Thompson were each involved in five of the blocks. Kimes and Nyhof contributed seven kills apiece, while libero Brett Starbuck was the visitors' leader with 13 digs.
The Lady Flames will continue their season-long four-match homestand on Friday at 7 p.m., when future Big South member Presbyterian visits the Vines Center. The Lady Flames and Blue Hose have never met on the volleyball court.