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Double-Doubles Push Liberty Past JMU

September 9, 2008
|  Harrisonburg, Va.
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The jubilant Lady Flames celebrate their first win over James Madison since 2003.

The jubilant Lady Flames celebrate their first win over James Madison since 2003.

Double-doubles by sophomore outside hitters Karyl Bacon and Nicki Scripko helped Liberty claim a 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-22) road victory at James Madison, Tuesday evening. The triumph at Fleming Gymnasium keeps the Lady Flames unbeaten at 7-0 to start the 2008 season.

Scripko (Fayetteville, N.C.) recorded a team-high 13 kills and 11 digs, for her second double-double of the young campaign. Teammate and classmate Bacon (Temecula, Calif.) came off the bench for 10 kills, 11 digs and a career-high four blocks, posting her first double-double of the year. Their efforts propelled the Lady Flames past their in-state rivals for the first time since 2003.

Despite Lindsay Callahan's match-best 19 kills and 10 digs, the host Dukes dropped their fourth consecutive contest. James Madison falls to 2-6 on the year.

For the third match in a row, Liberty lost the opening set before rallying to capture the next three stanzas. The score was knotted up at 10-10 during set one, before the Dukes seized control with a 5-0 burst. Kelly Turner and Holly Wall teamed up for two straight blocks during the rally, which also included kills by Callahan and Michelle Johnson. Another block by Turner, this one assisted by setter Lauren Miles, closed out a 25-20 triumph for the home team.

Callahan and Johnson both notched five kills in seven swings during set one. Meanwhile, JMU totaled four blocks, with Turner assisting in three of them. Meanwhile, Brittany Pacella (R-Jr., RS, Reading, Pa.) had a hand in three of Liberty's four blocks in the opening set.

Neither team led by more than two points at any juncture of set two. The lead changed hands 10 times and the score was tied on 21 occasions. An Ashley Webber (Sr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) kill forced tie No. 21 of the set, at 23 apiece. Her spike initiated a set-closing 3-0 burst for the Lady Flames, which also included a kill by Scripko and a James Madison attack error, giving Liberty a hard-fought 25-23 win.

Scripko led the way for Liberty in set two, both offensively and defensively. The sophomore posted six kills and four digs during the stanza, which knotted the match up at 1-1. Callahan tallied four kills and seven digs in a losing effort.

Set three was a stark contrast to the preceding set, as the lead never changed hands after Liberty's 6-1 run to begin the stanza. The homestanding Dukes got no closer than three points the rest of the way, and Bacon's team-high fourth kill of the set finished off a 25-14 victory for the Lady Flames. Middle blockers Chelaine McCarty (Jr., Houston, Ala.) and Webber combined for five kills in their seven attempts during set three.

James Madison appeared to be on its way to forcing a fifth set, after Sophia Lindroth's kill gave the Dukes a 16-12 edge. Liberty then swung the momentum in its favor, utilizing some aggressive serving. Three service aces—two by Bacon and one by McCarty—highlighted a decisive 9-1 run, putting the Lady Flames ahead for good. Bacon's kill then put the finishing touches on a 25-22 set victory and a 3-1 decision in the match.

Liberty hit just .200 during set four, but totaled four aces and four blocks. Webber and McCarty each recorded two block assists during the stanza. McCarty also hit .429 with a set-high four kills.

McCarty's fourth-set production was part of an 11-kill, four-block evening. The junior finished with a .381 attack percentage, going over the .300 plateau for the fifth consecutive match. Webber paced all players with a .455 attack percentage, to go along with five kills and a matching number of blocks. The middle blocker duo helped Liberty win the battle at the net, 12 blocks to seven.

Pacella continued her stellar all-around play from the right side, finishing with nine kills, six digs, five assists and three blocks. Setter Kallie Corbin (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) added 42 assists and six digs for the Lady Flames.

Johnson joined Callahan in double figures for kills on the James Madison side, with 10. Wall and Lindroth evenly divided 20 digs, while Miles had 42 assists.

Liberty will quickly return to the road, when the Lady Flames travel to Manhattan, Kan., for this Friday and Saturday's Varney's Kansas State Invitational. Liberty's first of three matches at the tournament will match the Lady Flames up with Cornell, Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern at Ahearn Field House. Cornell will be playing its 2008 season opener.