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Liberty Defeats Navy for First Win of Season
The Lady Flames' initial win of the 2006 campaign improves the team's record to 1-7. The Midshipmen are now 3-7 following the setback.
As mentioned above, coach Shane Pinder's squad roared out of the gate, providing a foreshadowing of what was to come. Liberty's fourth point came on a service ace by Kallie Corbin (Fr., S, Beaverton, Ore.). That was the first of the Lady Flames' 12 aces in the match. Nine of them came off the right hand of Corbin, a mark that fell just two shy of the school single-match record.
Junior right-side hitter Mary Alice Pike (Durham, N.C.) then provided a pair of kills. Those were the first of her Liberty season-high 15 kills. She also recorded five digs, four assists and the Lady Flames' other three service aces, while tallying a .324 attack percentage.
Liberty would increase its lead to 25-9 at one point in the opening game on a kill by senior middle blocker Autum Black (Mingoville, Pa.). The Flames then went on for a 30-16 victory.
Liberty's only lead of game two turned out to be at 1-0 after Rachel Denton (Sr., MB, Burnet, Texas) came up with one of her five kills. Navy led the rest of the way, although one of Alysson Sanders' (R-So., OH, Bear, Del.) 10 kills cut the margin to 21-19 and necessitated a timeout by the Midshipmen.
After the timeout, Navy reeled off six straight points to put the game away. 30-22 was the final count as the Midshipmen leveled the count at one game apiece.
Game three was nip-and-tuck through the early stages, as the score was tied at two and again at six. One of Pike's kills gave Liberty the lead, 7-6, and the Lady Flames would never relinquish the advantage. Liberty took the game by a 30-19 count, leaving it one game away from the match victory.
The Lady Flames began the fourth game the same way they had started the first, tallying six straight points. Included in that run was a quartet of aces by Corbin.
Navy did not quit and responded with a 12-3 run to take a 12-9 advantage. The Midshipmen still led by three, 18-15, before Liberty commenced upon one of two major runs.
The Lady Flames scored the next five points, retaking the lead on a kill by Stephanie Stow (Fr., MB, Murrieta, Calif.). Navy bounced back and took a 24-22 lead before Sanders stopped its mini-run with a kill.
Corbin stepped up to serve with her team trailing, 24-23, and proceeded to serve out the match. She recorded three aces during that decisive surge, including one, fittingly, on the match's final point.
Standout performances were in abundance for Liberty as three players reached double digits in kills. Not only did Pike and Sanders have effective evenings on the attack, but Kendall Nichols (So., OH, Hoover, Ala.) added 10 kills of her own. Sanders completed her second double-double in the last three matches with 11 digs.
Corbin posted some impressive all-around numbers. In addition to her serving exploits, the freshman totaled 38 assists, nine digs and six kills. Lara Bartolomeo (Jr., S/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Black led Liberty's defensive efforts. Bartolomeo came up with a team season-high 22 digs and Black contributed six blocks (one solo, five assists).
Nikki England was the top player for the Midshipmen, leading the squad in kills (14) and digs (18).
Liberty will wrap up its third and final weekend tournament of the regular season on Saturday with two more matches at West Point. The Lady Flames will tangle with The Citadel at noon before finishing up the tournament against Army at 6 p.m.