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Liberty Downs Radford In Season Finale
It took five games, but the Lady Flames came out victorious over the Highlanders on Senior Night, 3-2 (21-30, 30-17, 24-30, 30-22, 15-11), Friday evening in the Vines Center.
Early on in the first game both teams played to an 11 all tie. Radford (3-21, 0-14 Big South) made their move as a Christine German kill capped off a 9-2 run to give them a 20-13 lead. Liberty (9-21, 5-9 Big South) rallied back with a 4-1 run of its own to pull to within four; however, that's as close as they'd get as the Radford took game one, 30-21.
In game two it was the Lady Flames that got up first as an Allison Hallock (Sr., Irvine, Calif.) service ace put them up 12-9. A kill by the Highlanders' Lindsey Poole tied things up at 13, but the Lady Flames responded and reeled off a 17-4 run to take game two decisively, 30-17.
Both teams looked for momentum heading into the third game, but neither could find it as the scored was knotted at eight apiece, until Radford's Jennifer Fritz knock-out five-straight service points to give them a 13-8 lead. A ball handling error extended the lead to seven (21-14), but Liberty cut into the deficit with a 6-2 run to pull to within three. That's as close as Liberty would get as Radford took game three, 30-24.
The Highlanders looked to pick up their first Big South Conference victory on the season as the teams headed into the fourth game, but it was the Lady Flames that took control early on as a Ashley Webber (Fr., Lakeside, Calif.) kill put them up three (13-10). Liberty saw its lead increase from three, to five, to eight as a Poole attack error gave them a 26-18 lead. A Jessica Nelson (So., Tokyo, Japan) kill closed things out for Liberty as they forced a fifth, and deciding, game.
Radford jumped out to a quick 5-3 lead at the onset of game five, but Liberty responded with a 6-1 run to take a 9-6 lead. Liberty opened its lead up to five on a Lara Bartolomeo (So., Huntington Beach, Calif.) kill as that's all they need to take home the match on Senior Night, winning game five, 15-11.
Before the match the Lady Flames honored its two seniors, Hallock and Janell Migeot (Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif.) for their four years of dedication and on-court efforts for the program.
Liberty was led by Nelson as she collected a double-double with 16 kills and 15 digs. Also collecting a double-double was Bartolomeo who had 49 assists and 12 digs. Hallock paced the Lady Flames defensively with 17 digs, while in Migeot's final match at home she recorded 10 kills and eight digs.
For Radford, Rachel Newton had a match-high 21 digs. Josie Hanners posted 44 assists and Lindsey Wheeler had a team-high 12 kills, while hitting a match-high .455. Poole rounded out the double-digit kill performances with 11.
Next up for the Lady Flames is the Big South Volleyball Tournament that begins this Tuesday at 7 p.m. Liberty's first round opponent has yet to be determined.