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Liberty's Sweep Streak Reaches Six at Charleston Southern
Defense has been a key to the Lady Flames' recent success, and Friday's contest was no exception. Liberty, ranked No. 7 in the nation in digs, notched 58 of them against the Lady Buccaneers and put five players in double figures. The Lady Flames' efforts allowed them to win a sixth-consecutive 3-0 decision for the first time in at least 18 seasons.
Liberty is now 16-7 overall and 6-1 in conference action. The Lady Flames remain in second place in the Big South, one match behind Winthrop, after completing a season sweep of CSU. The host Lady Buccaneers drop to 9-14, 1-6 in the Big South.
The Lady Flames held a slim, 8-6 advantage early in the first game, prior to an 18-5 run. The extended surge, which left Liberty on top, 26-11, ended with an eight-point serving run by freshman Karyl Bacon (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.). Bacon recorded a pair of aces during the burst, putting the Lady Flames well on their way to a 30-14 win. Jessica Nelson's (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) solo block provided the game-ending point.
Starring for Liberty was the duo of Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) and Nicki Scripko (Fr., RS/OH, Fayetteville, N.C.). Corbin recorded kills on all three of her attacks, seven assists, five digs and a solo block. Scripko hit. 571 with five kills, helping Liberty record a .417 team attack percentage.
Another long serving run broke open a nip-and-tuck game two. With the score knotted 9-9, Nelson put down a kill and then served for six-straight points. After the surge, which put Liberty up by a 16-9 count, the Lady Flames cruised to a 30-20 decision. Again, the game ended on a block, this one a dual effort by Bacon and Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.).
Scripko and Nelson notched four kills apiece during the middle game, helping to neutralize the play of CSU freshman Amanda Hill. The Lady Buccaneers' standout newcomer had five kills and hit .455 during game two.
The third game was easily the most competitive of the evening, seeing 14 ties and four lead changes. Hill's 5-0 serving run gave the home team an early 12-6 lead, exciting the largest crowd of the year at the CSU Field House, 411 fans.
Liberty came right back with a 10-3 run to retake the advantage, 16-15. Keying the surge was Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.), who came off the Lady Flames' bench for three of her five kills during the third game.
Charleston Southern reclaimed a 20-18 lead, before the Lady Flames finished the match well. A Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) kill capped a 10-4 run, which gave Liberty a 28-24 advantage. Again, the Lady Buccaneers answered the Lady Flames' hot streak, tying the score at 28-28 after four-straight points.
Liberty then scored the final two points, winning the game and the match on a McCarty kill and a block by Nelson and Webber. The Lady Flames, who had seven blocks on the evening, came up with three of them for game-ending tallies.
The Lady Flames totaled 27 digs during the hard-fought third game, including seven each by Nelson and Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.). Liberty's defensive efforts allowed the team to prevail despite being outhit by the home team, .191 to .186. Hill excelled again, hitting .357 with six kills for the Lady Buccaneers.
Scripko paced all players with 16 kills on a .367 attack percentage and completed her eighth-career double-double with 10 digs. McCarty added 11 kills for the Lady Flames, although her streak of consecutive .300 matches was snapped at nine.
Nelson spearheaded Liberty's defensive effort, hustling for a match-high 15 digs and having her hand in three blocks. Bartolomeo (11 digs), Bacon (10 digs) and Corbin (10 digs) also reached double figures. Corbin added four kills and a match-best 39 assists for the Lady Flames.
For CSU, Hill hit .314 with a team-best 14 kills. Libero Ashlee Kadatz chipped in with 13 digs, while setter Amy Nokes recorded a double-double, with 12 assists and 10 digs.
Liberty will wrap up the "Beach Trip" Saturday at 2 p.m., when the Lady Flames visit Kimbel Arena to tangle with conference rival Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames will look to complete a season sweep of the Chanticleers, after sweeping CCU, 3-0 on Oct. 6.