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Nelson Helps Lady Flames Claim School-Record 13th-Straight Victory
The Lady Flames, who have won 39 of their last 40 games, are now 23-7 with just one match remaining prior to the Big South Volleyball Championship. The Eagles, in their first season of transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, drop to 19-13 on the season.
Freshman Nicki Scripko (RS/OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) got the match started with a kill and then fashioned an extended serving run quickly thereafter. Scripko served for six points, a surge which included a pair of Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) blocks, and ended with the Lady Flames holding a 10-2 lead. North Carolina did not threaten during the remainder of the stanza, which closed with a kill by Mary Alice Pike (Sr., RS, Durham, N.C.), sealing a 30-17 decision.
Chelaine McCarty (So., MB, Houston, Ala.) contributed a game-high six kills during the first game, while Nelson came up with 10 of the Lady Flames' 22 digs. Liberty held the visitors to a .024 attack percentage during game one.
Three different players put down kills during a 5-1 burst, which allowed Liberty to build an early lead in game two. Corbin's kill finished the run and put the Lady Flames on top by a 10-5 count. Corbin later served for the final six points of Liberty's 30-15 triumph, including a pair of aces.
Nelson (OH, Tokyo, Japan) and Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) evenly divided eight kills for the Lady Flames during the middle game. Meanwhile, Shari Matthews, who set an NCAA Division II national record for kills a season ago, notched a quartet of kills for North Carolina Central.
An ace by Matthews lifted the visitors to a 6-5 advantage in game three. However, Nelson came back with three kills in the next four rallies, enabling the Lady Flames to take the lead for good. Later in the stanza, Corbin and McCarty teamed up for blocks on three-consecutive points, putting Liberty well on its way to a 30-15 win and its eighth-straight victory in front of the home fans at the Vines Center.
Nelson hit a perfect 1.000 with seven kills during game three, helping Liberty hit a match-best .471 for the stanza. Corbin also hit 1.000, contributing two kills, 11 assists and four block assists to the Lady Flames' effort. Rebecca Waneka (Fr., DS/L, Colorado Springs, Colo.), who played libero in the third game, tallied four of her career-best six digs during the stanza.
Nelson's attack percentage (.591) marked a season-high, and she finished with her 16th double-double of the season. McCarty joined Nelson in double figures with 10 kills and hit .300 or higher (.304) for the 16th time in her last 17 outings.
Corbin hit .545 with six kills, 38 assists, two aces and a career-high seven blocks. Webber finished with a .429 attack percentage, seven kills and a pair of blocks. Webber's season total of 107 blocks is a new school record under the rally scoring format, eclipsing Erin McKeown's mark of 106 blocks, established in 2003.
Matthews and Brazilian Anielle Dasilva totaled 11 kills apiece for North Carolina Central, and Dasilva completed a double-double with 10 digs. Libero Rachel Lloyd recorded a team-high 12 digs.
Liberty will host Radford (8-22, 3-8 Big South), Saturday at 7 p.m., on Senior Night at the Vines Center. Lara Bartolomeo (Sr., L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.), Pike and Alysson Sanders (R-Jr., OH, Bear, Del.) will be all honored prior to their final regular-season home match.
The Lady Flames defeated Radford, 3-1, on Sept. 22 in their first Big South match of the season. A victory on Saturday would give Liberty at least a share of the Big South regular-season title. Winthrop is also 10-1 in Big South action, entering its Saturday contest at High Point.