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Double Attack: Nelson, Nichols Lead Liberty Past Elon
Liberty got double-double's from Jessica Nelson and Kendall Nichols as the Lady Flames picked up their first victory, 3-1 (30-25, 30-20, 28-30, 31-29) on the season against former Big South foe Elon this morning at the William and Mary Hall in the first match of the William and Mary Invitational.
In game one neither team could really get an advantage as an ace by Janell Migeot (Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif.) tied things up at seven early on. Both teams continued to battle back and forth until a kill by Nichols (Fr., Hoover, Ala.) gave Liberty (1-4) a 14-13 lead, which they would not relinquish as the Lady Flames would go on and win the first game, 30-25.
Game two saw the Liberty jump out to a quick 4-1 lead. Elon (0-5) scored seven of the next 12 points to take get to within one; however, the Lady Flames quickly responded, ripping off an 11-1 run to give them a 20-9 lead. The Phoenix would get to within six at 24-18, but that would be as close as they would come as the Lady Flames took game two, 30-20.
Up two games, Liberty looked to win game three and pick up their first win. Elon had other ideas as the Phoenix got out to a 13-9 lead. The Lady Flames got to win two (18-20), but could never take the lead as the Phoenix won game three (30-28) to stay alive.
Early on in the fourth game an attack error by Migeot gave Elon a 10-6 lead. Liberty fought back and Migeot found redemption as she tied things up at 20 with a kill. Later on a service ace by Emily Lucci put the Phoenix up 29-27 and on the brink of a game five. Nelson (So., Tokyo, Japan) had other ideas as she tallied two-straight kills to tie things up at 29. On the next play, Rachel Denton (Jr., Burnet, Texas) recorded one of her eight kills to put Liberty up 30-29 as they Lady Flames went on to win (31-29) and take the match, 3-1.
"We started out playing pretty good and mid-way through the match we lost our focus and let Elon get ahead in game three," remarked head coach Shane Pinder. "Fortunately for us we were able to refocus and pull it out for a win."
Pacing the Lady Flames was Nelson and Nichols. Nelson collected her first double-double on the year with 15 kills and 10 digs, while Nichols also recorded her first double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs. Lara Bartolomeo (So., Huntington Beach, Calif.) collected 35 assists and Denton tallied eight kills, while hitting .545 for the match.
The Lady Flames will be back in action later this afternoon when they take on the Bearcats of Binghamton at 4:30 p.m. at William and Mary Hall.