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Lady Flames Serve Up Win over Gardner-Webb

November 21, 2008  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Karyl Bacon notched a double-double, leading top-seeded Liberty past No. 8-seeded Gardner-Webb and into the semifinals of the Big South Volleyball Championship.

Karyl Bacon notched a double-double, leading top-seeded Liberty past No. 8-seeded Gardner-Webb and into the semifinals of the Big South Volleyball Championship.

Aggressive serving pushed the top-seeded Liberty volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-15) sweep of No. 8-seeded Gardner-Webb in the first round of the 2008 Big South Volleyball Championship, Friday evening. The Lady Flames served up a season-high 12 aces in the match played at the Justice Center in Asheville, N.C.

The Lady Flames got a season-best five aces from newly-minted Big South Player of the Year Kallie Corbin (Jr., S, Beaverton, Ore.) and a double-double (10 kills, 12 digs) from Karyl Bacon (So., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.). Their efforts helped improve Liberty's record to 23-8 and advance the Lady Flames into a Saturday semifinal round matchup against the host squad and No. 4 seed, UNC Asheville. The match will begin at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb's first season in the Big South Conference ends at 5-27. Friday's setback was the Bulldogs' ninth in a row.

Liberty owned a slim, 3-2 edge early in the opening frame, before Bacon sparked a 6-0 surge. The diminutive outside hitter provided two kills and served for five of the points. Chelaine McCarty's (Jr., MB, Houston, Ala.) kill closed out the run, putting the Lady Flames on top by a 9-2 count. After the burst, Liberty never looked back; sealing a 25-15 set one victory on Ashley Webber's (Sr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) kill.

The Lady Flames finished the first set with five aces, three of which came off the right hand of senior Jessica Nelson (OH, Tokyo, Japan). Bacon paced the squad in both kills (4) and digs (9) during the stanza. Bethany Martin stood out for the Bulldogs, hitting .400 with a quartet of kills.

A 6-2 burst, featuring two Heidi Steinebrunner kills, posted Gardner-Webb to a 9-5 lead in the second set. Liberty responded by posting eight of the next 11 points, reclaiming the advantage, 13-12 on the second of back-to-back service aces by Corbin. The Lady Flames never trailed again and closed out a 25-19 victory, sending them into the intermission up two sets to none.

Four of Corbin's five aces came during the middle stanza, and the setter also contributed nine assists. McCarty paced the Lady Flames with four kills, hitting .429 in the process. The Bulldogs' Steinebrunner finished with a set-high five kills, representing half of her team's total.

Again in the third set, Gardner-Webb jumped out to a quick lead out at the start. Steinebrunner and Martin each put down kills during a set-opening, 4-1 surge. The advantage did not last long, as Liberty came right back with a 6-0 run. The burst, which happened during Nicki Scripko's (So., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) serve, provided the Lady Flames a 7-4 edge. Liberty did not relinquish the lead, clinching a 25-15 triumph on a kill by Webber.

Scripko headed Liberty's balanced third-set offense with four kills, helping the victorious Lady Flames hit .276 for the stanza. Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb was held to eight kills and a .154 attack percentage.
Bacon, the lone player on either side of the net to reach double figures in kills, led Liberty in both kills and digs while recording her fifth double-double of the season. Kelly Haseman (L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.), named to the Big South All-Freshman team on Thursday, chipped in with 11 digs, helping the Lady Flames outdig the Bulldogs, 45-41.

Corbin finished the contest leading all players in both assists (28) and aces (5). The junior now has a team-high 44 aces for the season and has recorded Liberty's three highest single-season ace totals under the rally-scoring format.

McCarty, Nelson and Scripko were three of the most frequent beneficiaries of Corbin's sets. McCarty hit .538 with eight kills, while Nelson and Scripko summed seven kills apiece. Nelson complemented her attacking stats with three aces, equaling the senior's season-high total.

Gardner-Webb's Martin and Steinebrunner each totaled eight kills on the evening. Meanwhile, libero Katie Matykowski closed her career with a match-best 13 digs.

Liberty will now attempt to avenge a 3-2 loss suffered the last time the Lady Flames visited UNC Asheville, on Nov. 7. Liberty swept the Bulldogs, 3-0, at the Vines Center on Oct. 11.