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Liberty One of Nation's Best Digging Teams

January 11, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Jessica Nelson's 524 digs were the most by a Lady Flame since 1992.

Jessica Nelson's 524 digs were the most by a Lady Flame since 1992.

The Liberty volleyball team, which made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001, has been recognized for its defensive efforts. The Lady Flames were one of four squads nationally to receive honorable mention for Collegiate Volleyball Update's (CVU.com) Deep Digging Team of the Year award.

CVU.com, which tabbed sophomore setter Kallie Corbin (Beaverton, Ore.) National Player of the Week on Oct. 30, named Wisconsin-Milwaukee the 2007 Deep Digging Team of the Year. Liberty, Chattanooga, Creighton and Wichita State were the honorable mention selections.

The Lady Flames, who finished 27-9 on the season, ranked first in the Big South Conference and eighth in the nation with 19.81 digs per game. They outdug their opponents by an average of three digs per stanza and posted five 100-dig matches.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Nelson (Tokyo, Japan) led the way for the Lady Flames, totaling a Liberty rally-scoring record 524 digs. Her dig total, which ranks third on the Liberty single-season list, is the most by a Lady Flame since 1992. Nelson finished sixth in the Big South with 4.13 digs per game.

Lara Bartolomeo (L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.), one of two seniors on the Liberty roster, was fifth in the conference, averaging 4.30 digs per game. She wrapped up her Lady Flames career with a career-best 495 digs in 2007, the fifth-highest single-season total in program history. Bartolomeo ended up fourth on the Liberty career list, recording 1,567 digs during her four years.

Two other Lady Flames also exceeded the 400-dig mark for head coach Shane Pinder's team during the 2007 campaign. Freshman Karyl Bacon (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) and Corbin contributed 435 and 407 digs, respectively.