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Black, Corbin Star In Marathon Victory For Lady Flames
The hard-fought victory boosts Liberty's record to 5-11 overall. The Lady Flames, who have now won their last four home matches, dating back to last season, are 3-2 in Big South competition. Despite a valiant effort, the visiting Lady Buccaneers remain winless in Big South play at 0-5. Charleston Southern is 5-13 overall.
Liberty picked up right where it had left off during Friday's 3-1 victory over Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames controlled the net in the opening game on Sunday, recording five blocks and posting a .424 team attack percentage. Freshman middle blocker Stephanie Stow (Murrieta, Calif.) led the way for the white-clad Liberty squad, posting five kills and four blocks (one solo, three assists) in the game.
Jenni Shepherd helped the Lady Buccaneers get back on track in game two, tallying five kills and four digs during the game. CSU's Renae Popovich provided a kill that gave the visitors the lead for good at 19-18. The Lady Buccaneers went on for a 30-26 victory.
The third game was a back-and-forth contest until Charleston Southern took control with a late 4-0 burst. Jillian Worby had two kills during the run, including one that put Charleston Southern on top, 25-24. The Lady Buccaneers then held on for a 30-27 win, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
With their backs against the wall, the Lady Flames rallied in game four. Trailing 9-6, Liberty ran off six consecutive points. Included in that run were a thunderous kill by Mary Alice Pike (Jr., RS, Durham, N.C.) that made it 11-9 and an ace by Alysson Sanders (R-So., OH, Bear, Del.).
After that run, Liberty never looked back in the fourth game. Black (Sr., MB, Mingoville, Pa.) provided six of her kills in the stanza. One of those kills provided the point that made it 30-21, Liberty and necessitated a fifth game.
The Lady Flames appeared to have game five in hand after a Worby attack error gave the home team a 12-8 lead. It was then that Shepherd refused to let the Lady Buccaneers go down quietly. She notched four kills during a 6-2 run that knotted the score at 14. Shepherd would total nine kills in the fifth game.
Liberty and Charleston Southern then exchanged match points. Each team fought off four match points before Worby committed an attack error to give the home team a 24-22 win, ending one of the longest matches in Lady Flames history.
After recording 15 blocks Friday evening, Liberty totaled 17 blocks against Charleston Southern. Black led the way with eight blocks (one solo, seven assists). Corbin (Fr., S, Beaverton, Ore.) added five block assists to go along with a career-best 12 kills, a career-best 53 assists and 17 digs. Both Black and Corbin were efficient with their attacking. Black hit .536 while Corbin checked in at .407.
Outside hitters Sanders and Kendall Nichols (So., Hoover, Ala.) both ended up with double-doubles for Liberty. Sanders had 12 kills and 13 digs, while Nichols contributed 11 kills and 16 digs. Libero Lara Bartolomeo (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif.) hustled her way to 22 digs, equaling a match high.
Worby also posted 22 digs, leading the Lady Buccaneers in that category. Shepherd finished the afternoon with splendid numbers, notching 26 kills, 15 digs and five block assists. Popovich added 14 kills for the visitors while freshman setter Sam Sasan led the team with 33 assists.
Liberty now sets out on a five-match road trip, beginning with a non-conference encounter with UNC Greensboro (13-7) Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Charleston Southern will remain on the road, traveling to Birmingham-Southern for a conference match on Saturday.