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Portland Defeats Lady Flames, 3-0, in Volleyball Season Opener
A young Liberty University volleyball team was unable to overcome some early first-match jitters, dropping a 3-0 (30-12, 30-22, 30-25) decision to Portland at the Davidson Mizuno Wildcat Classic Thursday evening at Belk Arena.
Liberty is now 0-1, while the Pilots evened their season record at 1-1.
LU head coach Shane Pinder went with a starting lineup that featured three sophomores and a freshman. That unit was tested right away by Portland, a solid West Coast squad.
The Pilots scored the first three points of the match and never looked back in the opening game, winning by a 30-12 margin.
The Lady Flames made things quite competitive in game two and held a 12-11 lead after a Portland service error. The Pilots then scored six of the next seven points to take the lead for good in their 30-22 win.
A pair of kills by sophomore Alysson Sanders (OH, Bear, Del.) and a service ace by freshman setter Kallie Corbin (Beaverton, Ore.) helped the Lady Flames race out to a 4-0 advantage in the third game. A Sanders ace gave Liberty its largest advantage of the game at 7-2.
Liberty would lead as late as 17-16. The Lady Flames were not able to hold on for the victory, though, as Portland pulled out a 30-25 decision.
Corbin had a solid, all-around performance in the first match of her college career. She totaled 13 assists, eight digs and a team-best three blocks (one solo, two assisted).
Sophomore outside hitter Kendall Nichols (Hoover, Ala.) led the Lady Flames with eight kills. Sanders contributed seven kills and two of Liberty's four aces. Junior libero Lara Bartolomeo (Huntington Beach, Calif.) paced the Lady Flames with nine digs.
Portland's attack was led by Nicole Thometz and Jennifer Sheedy, who posted 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Their efforts helped the Pilots accumulate a .333 team attack percentage.
Liberty will return to action Friday at 5:30 p.m. with a match against defending national champion, Washington. The contest will be the Lady Flames' second of four matches at the Davidson Mizuno Wildcat Classic.