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One Streak Ends, Another Continues for Lady Flame Netters

November 2, 2007
|  Clinton, S.C.
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Jessica Nelson paced the Lady Flames in kills (17) and digs (24), as Liberty ran its winning streak to 11.

Jessica Nelson paced the Lady Flames in kills (17) and digs (24), as Liberty ran its winning streak to 11.

The homestanding Presbyterian Blue Hose dealt Liberty a 30-28 game one loss, Friday evening at the Templeton Center, halting the Lady Flames' school-record streak at 30-consecutive games won. However, Liberty bounced back to claim a 3-1 (28-30, 30-18, 30-23, 30-18) victory and extend its longest winning streak since 1987 to 11 matches.

With the win, which featured a triple-double by CVU.com National Player of the Week Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) and 107 team digs, Liberty improves to 21-7. The setback snaps Presbyterian's three-game winning streak and drops the Blue Hose's season ledger to 18-12. The future Big South team is now 5-7 versus Big South opposition this season.

The lone senior on the Presbyterian roster, outside hitter Lauren Mason did her very best to make Senior Night a happy occasion for the home team. She contributed a game-high seven kills during a back-and-forth game one, which included 14 ties and eight lead changes.

With her team trailing, 20-18, after a Corbin kill, Mason opened an 8-3 Presbyterian burst with a kill of her own. The spurt put the hosts on top by a 26-23 count. Liberty responded with three quick points, knotting the score at 26 when Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) put down a kill. Presbyterian then got back on track with a Justine Lanchester kill on the ensuing point, taking the lead for good in its 30-28 decision.

Lanchester complemented Mason nicely, with a .364 attack percentage, five kills and a pair of solo blocks during the stanza. Meanwhile, four-time Big South Freshman of the Week Nicki Scripko (RS/OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) contributed six kills for the Lady Flames.

Trailing a match for the first time since Sept. 29, Liberty head coach Shane Pinder's squad returned to two trademarks of its current winning streak, an efficient offensive attack and solid defense. The Lady Flames hit .300 and hustled their way to 29 digs during the second game. However, the match was tied at 15 apiece at the midpoint.

Liberty then put together its first prolonged run of the evening, a 12-1 surge. Nine-straight points came on the serve of Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.), including a pair of aces. Freshman Karyl Bacon (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) also contributed four kills to the run, which put the Lady Flames well on their way to a 30-18 win.

Scripko again led the Liberty offense with seven kills, but Bacon was close behind with six kills on a .500 attack percentage. Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) sparked the Lady Flames' blanket defense with eight digs.

Bacon helped Liberty take control of game three with an 8-0 serving run, which ended with her team holding a 12-6 advantage. McCarty's pair of kills highlighted the surge. Presbyterian gradually whittled away at the deficit and came within two, 23-21, on an Ashley Dunlap ace, one of six in the game for the Blue Hose.

The Lady Flames finished off the game by scoring seven of the final nine points. Nelson kills accounted for three of the markers, including one for the 30th point of Liberty's 30-23 triumph. Liberty counteracted Presbyterian's serving in the third game by putting three players over .400 in attack percentage, headlined by Corbin's .429.

McCarty broke open the fourth and final game with one last long serving run by the Lady Flames. She stepped up to serve after her own kill had lifted Liberty to a 13-8 advantage. Eight points (and three Nelson kills) later, the sophomore had given her team a 13-point cushion. Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.) later sealed the Lady Flames' 30-18 victory and a 3-1 win in Liberty's first-ever trip to Presbyterian.

Nelson excelled in the fourth game, leading all players in both kills (6) and digs (9) and helping her team go over the 20-dig mark for the fourth-straight game. Mason countered with five kills and a .333 attack percentage for the Blue Hose.

Corbin's triple-double, her second of the year and the sixth of her career, consisted of 10 kills, a career-best 66 assists and 20 digs. Her 66 assists were the most by a Liberty player since Kristin Colson's 74 helpers at Charleston Southern on Nov. 5, 2004.

Nelson led the Lady Flames in both kills (17) and digs (24). Her defensive efforts helped Liberty record its fourth 100-dig match of the season. A third Liberty player also reached 20 digs on Friday, as Bacon tallied an even 20 digs to go along with 15 kills and a .333 attack percentage.

Somewhat overshadowed was another double-double by Scripko. Her third-straight double-double featured 16 kills and 15 digs. Bartolomeo became the fourth Lady Flame ever to eclipse the 1,500-dig plateau, reaching the milestone with 18 digs against Presbyterian. The senior now has 1,511 career digs.

Liberty's middle blockers both enjoyed solid evenings, as McCarty hit .346 with 13 kills, a team-best three aces and seven digs and Ashley Webber (Jr., Lakeside, Calif.) paced all players with a .389 attack percentage. Webber also recorded a kill, allowing her to reach the 100-kill mark for the first time in her career.

Presbyterian's Mason led all players with 20 kills and added 17 digs, recording her ninth 20-kill match of the season. Elizabeth Heineman paced the Blue Hose with 19 digs, while Lanchester provided four solo blocks.

The Blue Hose served up 10 aces on Friday, matching South Florida for the most by a Liberty opponent all season. Amanda Davis provided half of Presbyterian's aces.

Liberty will return to conference play with a Saturday visit to UNC Asheville's Justice Center. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four matches to improve to 9-20 overall and 2-9 in conference action. Match time is slated for 2 p.m.