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Defending National Champion Washington Too Much for Lady Flames

September 1, 2006
|  Davidson, N.C.
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Lara Bartolomeo led the Lady Flames with 11 digs.

Lara Bartolomeo led the Lady Flames with 11 digs.

The young Liberty University volleyball team did some more growing up Friday evening, meeting defending national champion Washington.  In the end, the Huskies took a 3-0 (30-13, 30-17, 30-17) decision at the Davidson Mizuno Wildcat Classic at Belk Arena.

Liberty is now 0-2 on the young season, while the third-ranked Huskies are 4-1 after completing a 3-0 tournament.

The Lady Flames got off to a strong start, catching the heavily-favored Washington unit by surprise.  Liberty was able to take advantage of several Husky errors and a kill by Autum Black (Sr., MB, Mingoville, Pa.) tied the first game at 6-6.

Washington's attack, choreographed by two-time All-American setter Courtney Thompson, then started to click.  The Huskies scored the next four points, three of which were kills set up by Thompson, and never looked back on their way to a 30-13 win.
Liberty put together its best stretch of volleyball thus far this season early in game two.  Four different players provided kills in the game's early moments.  Rachel Denton (Sr., MB, Burnet, Texas) drilled a kill that knotted the score at 8 apiece.

Another Denton kill kept the Lady Flames close at 11-9.  Washington was then able to pull away by scoring the next four points and triumphed, 30-17.

In the third and final game, Washington wasted no time, jumping out to a 4-0 advantage on the strength of a pair of service aces.  The Huskies went on to a 30-17 triumph, but Liberty head coach Shane Pinder's youngsters provided a couple late highlights.

Freshman middle blocker Stephanie Stow (Murrieta, Calif.) entered the contest for the first time during game three and quickly provided the first two kills of her collegiate career.  The second of her kills was assisted by classmate Kallie Corbin (S, Beaverton, Ore.).

Corbin recorded 20 assists for Liberty.  Junior libero Lara Bartolomeo (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added a team-high 11 digs.  Mary Alice Pike (RS, Jr., Durham, N.C.) led the Lady Flames with six kills.

Washington was led by Thompson, who totaled 46 assists.  Her primary targets were Christal Morrison (14 kills) and Stevie Mussie (13 kills).  The Huskies also took advantage of a dozen aces.

Liberty will remain in Davidson for the final day of the Mizuno Wildcat Classic on Saturday.  The Lady Flames will play two matches on Saturday, a 12:30 p.m. tilt with the host Wildcats and a 5:30 encounter against 15th-ranked Ohio University.