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Fast Start Propels Birmingham-Southern to Win Over Lady Flames

October 1, 2006
|  Birmingham, Ala.
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Alysson Sanders paced the Lady Flames with eight kills.

Alysson Sanders paced the Lady Flames with eight kills.

The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team got off to an excellent start in its match against Liberty Sunday afternoon, hitting .550 in game one. The Panthers parlayed that momentum into a 3-0 (30-17, 30-25, 30-20) Big South Conference victory over the Lady Flames at Bill Battle Coliseum. 

Liberty, which was unable to secure a win on its two-match weekend road trip, is 3-11 overall and 1-2 in Big South action. The Panthers lifted their season mark to 5-11. They are now 2-1 in conference matches. 

The match's first two rallies provided a foreshadowing of what was to come in the opening game. Birmingham-Southern won both points, capitalizing on a Liberty attack error and a kill by Caitlin Dees. The Panthers would lead the entire way, recording 14 kills in 20 total attempts and forcing the Lady Flames into a dozen attack errors. 

Liberty did make one solid run in the middle of game one, building some confidence for the remainder of the contest. Four different Lady Flames posted kills during an 8-1 run that shaved the home team's lead from 13-3 to 14-11. Autum Black (Sr., MB, Mingoville, Pa.) punctuated the surge with a kill, trimming the Panthers' advantage to three. Liberty could get no closer, however, and lost, 30-17. 

The Lady Flames led by as many as three points in the second game as a ball handling error by Milica Stojanovic gave coach Shane Pinder's club an 8-5 advantage. Birmingham-Southern then ran off an 8-3 burst, taking the lead for good. Mary Alice Pike (Jr., RS, Durham, N.C.) came up with a kill to put Liberty within two (22-20), but the Panthers held on for a 30-25 victory. 

Down two games to none, the last thing Liberty could afford was for the Panthers to jump out to a lead in the third game. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. Dees recorded three straight kills to start the game and Birmingham-Southern ran out to a quick, 9-1 lead. The Lady Flames could get no closer than seven the rest of the way as the Panthers wrapped up a conference triumph. 

For the fourth-straight match, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alysson Sanders (Bear, Del.) led the Lady Flames in kills. She tallied eight kills and also paced the team with three blocks. Kendall Nichols (So., OH, Hoover, Ala.) chipped in with seven kills and 11 digs. Kallie Corbin (Fr., S, Beaverton, Ore.) was the Liberty team leader in assists (26) and aces (2). 

Birmingham-Southern, which hit .355 for the match, was paced by Michelle Maciejewski. She ended the afternoon with a double-double (13 kills, 11 digs). Dees added 11 kills on a .556 attack percentage and six blocks. 

Liberty will return home to meet Big South rival Coastal Carolina (4-13, 1-2 BSC) on Friday at 7 p.m. The contest will mark just the second time that the Lady Flames have played at the Vines Center this season.