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Lady Flames Take Down Elon, 3-0
It was a career day for two Lady Flames, as Karyl Bacon tied a career-high with 20 kills and Erica Manor had a career-high five service aces, helping Liberty defeat the host Elon Phoenix, 3-0 (29-27, 24-21, 25-15), in the final match of the Elon Phoenix Classic, Saturday afternoon.
Bacon and fellow outside hitter Lillie Happel were both named to the all-tournament team.
With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 6-3 on the year, while the Phoenix drop to 7-4.
The victory was revenge of sorts, as Elon beat Liberty at the Vines Center on Sept. 5, 2009, to win the Liberty Invitational presented by Pepsi title. Liberty is now 17-2 all-time against the Phoenix.
The first set saw plenty of lead changes, as both teams stayed neck-and-neck. But the Phoenix, sparked by two Liberty attack errors and kills by Traci Stewart and Caroline Lemke, pulled away for a 17-12 lead.
Bacon stopped that run with two consecutive kills down the middle to bring the score to 17-14, prompting Elon Head Coach Mary Tendler to call a timeout.
Another Bacon kill stopped a 3-0 Phoenix run, and a service ace by Manor brought the Lady Flames back to within two points, 20-18.
Two kills by Happel set up a set point, but an Elon kill by Sarah Schermerhorn brought the score to 24-23.
On a marathon point that ended with a Manor kill, Liberty took a 26-25 advantage, but the Phoenix were once again able to tie it up.
Another huge Bacon kill that landed just inside the back line gave Liberty set point no. 4, but the Phoenix responded with a line-landing kill of their own for a 27-27 score.
After yet another long-winded rally, an Elon error gave Liberty a 28-27 lead, and another Bacon kill sealed the 29-27 first set win for the Lady Flames.
Bacon had 10 of her kills in the first set, and the Lady Flames notched five service aces as a team.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Elon fought right back to tie it up. After going back and forth, three straight service aces by Manor gave Liberty a 9-6 advantage. Loren Thomas followed up with a kill down the middle to put the Lady Flames ahead by four points. After an Elon timeout, Thomas followed up with another kill for an 11-6 lead.
The Phoenix stayed hot on Liberty's tail, keeping within reach, until the Lady Flames broke away for an 18-12 lead thanks to a double block by Thomas and Happel, a Happel service ace and another kill by Bacon.
The Lady Flames kept the roll going, holding on for a 25-20 set two win.
Thomas, Bacon and Elon's Stewart tied for a set-high four kills, while Kelly Haseman led all players with five digs and Liberty held the Phoenix to a .172 attack percentage for the set.
The third set stayed close at first, but the Lady Flames won five straight points to take an early 9-4 advantage. Behind strong plays from Kendle Rollins and Manor, plus several key digs by Haseman and Courtney Cooper, Liberty took a 19-10 edge after going on a 5-0 run.
The Lady Flames never relinquished control of the final set, and a key Lauren Bosche dig set up a match-winning kill by Happel, allowing Liberty to walk away with the 3-0 sweep.
Bacon had five kills in the final set, as the Lady Flames posted a .333 attack percentage.
Bacon was the only player to notch double-digit kills in the match. Happel, Thomas and Manor contributed six kills apiece.
Setter Jade Craycraft had 32 assists, while as a team, Liberty recorded 10 service aces.
Haseman led all players with 18 digs, followed by Bacon with 10 and Cooper with seven.
The Phoenix were paced by Stewart and Carly Ledbetter, who recorded eight kills apiece, while Lemke had two solo blocks.
After a 2-1 appearance in the tournament, the Lady Flames wrap up the 2010 Elon Phoenix Classic with a second-place finish behind the still-undefeated Northern Illinois Huskies (11-0).
Liberty will open up its home slate next week, hosting James Madison for the 2010 home opener at the Vines Center on Tuesday. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.