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Lady Flames Overcome George Washington, 3-1

September 3, 2010
|  Charlottesville, Va.
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Loren Thomas had nine kills and four blocks as Liberty defeated George Washington, 3-1.

Karyl Bacon and Lillie Happel each nabbed double-doubles, helping the Liberty Lady Flames overcome the Colonials of George Washington, 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20), to open the UVA Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup, Friday morning, in Charlottesville, Va.

Bacon, who tallied 15 kills and 10 digs, now has recorded four consecutive double-doubles to begin the 2010 season. Happel (10 kills, 11 digs), notched her second career double-double, after accomplishing the feat in her first collegiate start against Cleveland State on Aug. 27.

With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 3-1 on the year, while George Washington drops to 2-2.

The closely contested match had a total of 35 tie scores and 11 lead changes.

Despite trailing most of the opening set, the Lady Flames stayed within reach of the Colonials, coming back near the end to seal the 25-20 win.

Setter Jade Craycraft kicked the match off with a service ace, and a kill by Erica Manor gave Liberty an early two-point lead. The two teams traded the lead for the first 14 points, until George Washington went on a roll, scoring four straight points to take an 11-7 lead.

The Lady Flames kept the Colonials within reach, finally tying it up at 19-19, on a Bacon kill

After several George Washington errors, two consecutive Bacon kills cemented the 25-20 first-set victory.

Bacon had five kills to lead all players in the first set, and the Liberty defense held George Washington to a .289 attack percentage. Katie Zulandt led the team with four kills, while MacKenzie Knox, Lauren Whyte and Taylor Knox contributed three kills apiece.

The two teams stayed neck-and-neck for most of the second set, as there were 12 tie scores and six lead changes throughout the frame. The Lady Flames stepped up when it counted, holding on to a narrow lead and taking the 25-22 win for the two-set advantage.

Bacon once again contributed five kills, while Happel recorded four and Kendle Rollins notched three. Once again, the Lady Flames beat out the Colonials in hitting percentage, .300 to .179.

The Colonials came roaring back in the third set, refusing to succumb to the sweep. Paced by Zulandt and assisted by Liberty errors, George Washington took a quick 12-5 lead. Liberty struggled to put a string of points together, and the Colonials maintained control to take the 25-18 win.

The Lady Flames mustered a .100 attack percentage during the third frame, compared to the Colonials' .304. Loren Thomas led the Lady Flames with three kills, while Zulandt and Whyte recorded four kills apiece to lead the Colonials' surge.

Liberty sparked back to life in the fourth set, but the point trade-off seen in the earlier sets returned. The two squads went back and forth to 15-all, until the Lady Flames made a run for a 20-15 lead.

The Lady Flames took advantage of a couple of George Washington miscues, and Bacon recorded the match-winning kill to give Liberty the victory.

Aside from Bacon and Happel, Rollins added 12 kills while Thomas recorded nine. Craycraft tallied 47 assists and libero Kelly Haseman made 23 digs, bringing her closer to the career 1,000 mark (she is now at 955).

Middle blockers Thomas and Rollins had four blocks apiece, and Rollins' 12 kills ties the career high for the redshirt freshman.

Whyte led all players with 16 kills, while Zulandt contributed 12 kills and Leah Hill had 11 kills and 14 digs.

Liberty will return to Memorial Gymnasium this evening, taking on host Virginia at 7 p.m.