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JMU Downs Liberty In Five Game Thriller
Liberty and James Madison battled it out in a five game thriller, but it was the Dukes who prevailed in the end handing the Lady Flames a 3-2 defeat (30-26, 16-30, 31-29, 28-30, 6-15) in the Vines Center this evening.
In the first game, Liberty (4-9) jumped out quickly to a 17-8 lead over James Madison (8-3). The Dukes fought their way back to get to within three (21-18) as they jetted off a 10-4 run capped off by a Bayli Stillwell kill. Both teams battled back and forth and JMU worked its way to within two points (28-26), but that would be as close as they'd get as a kill by Jessica Nelson (So., Tokyo, Japan) and Kendall Nichols (Fr., Hoover, Ala.) gave the Lady Flames a 30-26 game one win.
The second game was a much different story as the Dukes opened up a 20-9 lead. Liberty wouldn't get any closer than 12 points (25-13) as JMU took the second game, 30-16.
Each team looked to gain the momentum in the next game but both battled to a 10-10 tie early on. James Madison went on an 8-4 run to take a four-point advantage, but Liberty responded, going on a 10-5 run of its own to go up one (24-23). A block by Ashley Copenhaver and Emilee Hussack knotted things up at 28, but the Lady Flames would go on to score three out of the final four points to take the third game.
Once again the Lady Flames got off to a slow start as they found themselves down 11-7 at the start of game four. An attack error by Janell Migeot (Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif.) gave JMU a 21-15 lead; however, Liberty fought its way back as an Amanda Snead service error brought Liberty to within two (26-24). Unfortunately that's as close as they'd get as they dropped the fourth game, 30-28, and forced a deciding fifth.
In the fifth game the Dukes jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead and never looked back as they ended the game on a 5-2 run and handed the Lady Flames a 15-6 game five loss to take the match, 3-2.
"Well, it was our first home match and I knew we would face a little bit of the jitters," explained head coach Shane Pinder. "We came out and played tough, winning the first game. With our youth, we are fighting for confidence and consistency but good things are happening."
Liberty was paced by Lara Bartolomeo (So., Huntington Beach, Calif.) as she dished out 44 assists and collected eight digs. Nelson and Nichols both collected double-doubles as they had 17 kills, 11 digs and 11 kills, 11 digs, respectively. Allison Hallock (Sr., Irvine, Calif.) recorded a team-high 13 digs and four service aces, while Autum Poorman (Jr., Mingoville, Pa.) tallied 12 kills.
For the Dukes, Krysta Cannon recorded a match-high 47 assists and collected six digs. Jena Pierson notched a match-high 22 digs, while Stillwell tallied 14 kills and nine digs.
The Lady Flames return to action on September 23 when they travel to Radford, Va., to take on the Highlanders of Radford at 7 p.m. in the Dedmon Center in Liberty's first Big South match of the season.