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Liberty Drops William and Mary; Nelson Named Tournament MVP
After dropping their early match, Liberty responded, handing William and Mary its first defeat of the tournament with a 3-1 (30-25, 18-30, 30-28, 30-23) win in their final match of the William and Mary Invitational at William and Mary Hall.
The Lady Flames and The Tribe battled early as game one saw seven ties until a kill by Kendall Nichols (Fr., Hoover, Ala.) gave Liberty a 18-17 lead. The game was still close as the Lady Flames couldn't get more than a four point advantage until finally sealing game one, 30-25.
Game two was a different story as William and Mary jumped out to a 17-9 lead and never looked back, taking game two 30-18 and tying things up at one apiece.
The third game was another classic struggle as the game saw nine ties, with neither team holding more than a three point advantage. With the game knotted at 27 apiece, a block by Autum Poorman (Jr., Mingoville, Pa.) gave the Lady Flames the lead for good as Liberty won game three, 30-28.
Looking to close out the match, Liberty got off to a 15-9 advantage midway through the fourth game. A 10-7 run helped the Lady Flames open up their lead to nine (25-16) as that would be all they would need, going on to win game four 30-23 and taking the match, 3-1.
The night got even better for Liberty as Jessica Nelson (So., Tokyo, Japan) and Poorman were named to the all-tournament team, with Nelson being named the tournament MVP.
"Unbelievable effort, unbelievable effort," exclaimed head coach Shane Pinder. "Nelson was awesome, Kendall (Nichols) stepped up and Lara (Bartolomeo) ran a tremendous offense. We just wanted it more tonight and it showed as the girls absolutely earned it."
Nelson and Nichols returned to their offensive ways as the two both notched double-doubles; their third in four matches. Nelson tallied 17 kills and a career-high 24 digs, while Nichols recorded 15 kills and 13 digs. Lara Bartolomeo (So., Huntington Beach, Calif.) also had a double-double with a match-high 51 assists and 11 digs, while Poorman collected 12 kills and Allison Hallock (Sr., Irvine, Calif.) had 10 digs.
The Lady Flames return to action on September 13th when they travel to Davidson, N.C. to take on the Wildcats of Davidson at 7 p.m. at John M. Belk Arena.