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Lady Flames Edge Host George Mason, Now 5-0
With her classmate Nicki Scripko (OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) battling illness, Bacon (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) entered the match in the first set and ended up playing most of the night. In addition to her kill total, Bacon hit a season-best .419 and tied her season high with eight digs.
Liberty is now 5-0 to start the 2008 season after recording its second win of the day. The Lady Flames opened Friday's action with a 3-0 sweep of Saint Francis (Pa.). George Mason drops to 1-4 on the year, after falling in its first matchup with Liberty since the 2003 season.
The host Patriots roared out of the gate in the opening set, led by a trio of kills by Sam Simmonds and two service aces. Before the Lady Flames knew what had hit them, they trailed by an 11-2 margin. Liberty then mounted a furious comeback and was able to tie the score at 23-23 when Scripko's kill capped off a 5-0 burst. However, George Mason regrouped to score the next two points and take the opening set, 25-23.
Setter Fernanda Bartels keyed the Patriots' set one triumph, pacing all players in both assists (10) and digs (6). For the Lady Flames, Bacon and Chelaine McCarty (Jr., MB, Houston, Ala.) evenly divided six kills.
Liberty again found itself trailing in the second set, 9-8, before its pair of middle hitters highlighted a pivotal 5-0 surge. McCarty served for four of the points, including an ace. Meanwhile, Ashley Webber (Sr., Lakeside, Calif.) had two kills and a block. The Lady Flames never trailed again all evening, and finished off set two with a 25-18 decision.
Liberty used a balanced offensive attack in the second set, as all six starters notched at least two kills and the team hit .483. Bacon and fellow outside hitter Jessica Nelson (Sr., Tokyo, Japan) led the way with four kills each.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 3-0 advantage during set three, and never looked back. As a team, Liberty hit .278 for the stanza. McCarty paced the squad with five kills and a .571 attack percentage. Meanwhile, freshman libero Kelly Haseman (Three Rivers, Mich.) came up with eight digs, helping limit George Mason to a .152 attack percentage and playing a key role in a 25-20 Liberty triumph.
Defense set the stage for another fast Liberty start in set four. Two of the Lady Flames' first three points came via blocks, helping Liberty run out to an 11-5 lead. Bacon and Nelson carried much of the offensive load during the fourth and final stanza, with five kills apiece. Fittingly, successive spikes by Nelson and Bacon wrapped up the match with a 25-18 Liberty decision.
Liberty, which had broken a school record by hitting .483 versus Saint Francis (Pa.) during the morning session, posted a stellar .326 attack percentage in the nightcap. The Lady Flames received offensive production from numerous sources, as three players joined Bacon in double figures in the kill column.
Nelson finished with a season-best 13 kills, while McCarty's 12 kills also represented her highest total of the young campaign. McCarty hit .611 versus George Mason, boosting the junior's season attack percentage to .404. Brittany Pacella (R-Jr., RS, Reading, Pa.) reached double figures for the first time in her career, ending up with 10 kills, seven digs and five assists.
Orchestrating the offensive onslaught was Liberty setter Kallie Corbin (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.). She not only accumulated a season-high 47 assists, but also added six kills, 13 digs and a pair of aces.
Liberty's defensive standouts were Haseman and Webber. Haseman finished up with 21 digs, the highest total by a Lady Flame this season. Meanwhile, Webber had a hand in five of Liberty's six blocks.
Bartels finished with a double-double for the homestanding Patriots, consisting of 35 assists and a team-best 11 digs. Two of her attackers posted 10 or more kills, as Noelle Fanella ended with 11 kills and Jourdan Dozier had 10.
The Lady Flames are scheduled to play winless Rutgers (0-4) in their third and final match at the Patriot Invitational, Saturday at 2 p.m.