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Lady Flames Sweep UNCG in 2009 Season Opener

August 28, 2009  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Junior outside hitter Karyl Bacon recorded a double-double on Friday, finishing with 11 kills and 16 digs.

Junior outside hitter Karyl Bacon recorded a double-double on Friday, finishing with 11 kills and 16 digs.

The Liberty volleyball team began the 2009 campaign with a resounding, 25-7 set one victory over UNC Greensboro Friday afternoon and never looked back. The Lady Flames went on to close out a 3-0 (25-7, 25-21, 25-17) season-opening sweep of the Spartans in the first match of the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.

Liberty is 1-0, after starting its year with a 3-0 sweep for the third consecutive season. Meanwhile, UNC Greensboro, which went 23-10 in 2008, begins the year at 0-1.

The Spartans scored the first point of the afternoon, before Liberty seized control of the opening set by tallying the next 11 points in a row. Karyl Bacon (Jr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) served for 10 of those markers, and also added two kills and an ace during the surge. Liberty's advantage eventually reached 18-2, before the Lady Flames sealed a 25-7 victory.

Liberty was extremely efficient offensively during set one, hitting .583 and committing zero attack errors. Bacon led the way, with an .800 attack percentage, four kills and three digs. Kelly Haseman (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) spearheaded the defense, coming up with six of Liberty's 15 digs during the opening stanza.

The middle set proved to be the most competitive of the afternoon, featuring a dozen ties and four lead changes. UNC Greensboro scored four consecutive points to claim an 11-9 edge and necessitate a timeout by Liberty head coach Shane Pinder.

The Lady Flames emerged from the huddle by reeling off six of the next seven markers, three of which came on Nicki Scripko (Jr., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) kills, and never trailed again. Liberty went into the intermission with a 2-0 lead, after a 25-21 set two triumph.

Setter Kallie Corbin (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) recorded 16 assists during the second set and helped direct the Liberty offense to a .318 attack percentage. Scripko and Chelaine McCarty (Sr., MB, Houston, Ala.) put down five kills apiece during the stanza, while Bacon totaled 10 digs. For the Spartans, Billi Baker notched a set-high six kills to keep her team close.

Baker's kill put UNC Greensboro in front, 13-12, midway through the third set. The Lady Flames then turned things around with an 8-0 burst. Seven of the points came on Corbin's serve, and the setter also contributed two kills and a trio of assists to the set-changing run. Soon thereafter, back-to-back spikes by Bacon put the finishing touches on Liberty's 25-17 set win and 3-0 sweep.

Junior outside hitters Bacon and Scripko evenly divided eight kills during the final stanza. Haseman chipped in with nine digs and three assists, while Kirstyn Sanders (R-Jr., MB, Bear, Del.), making her first career start, added a pair of blocks.

For the match, Liberty dominated statistically, outhitting UNC Greensboro, .369 to .099. The Lady Flames' team attack percentage was their highest since hitting .418 versus Radford on Oct. 21, 2008 at the Vines Center. Liberty also notched 60 digs to the Spartans' 40.

Individually, Liberty's outside hitter duo of Scripko and Bacon finished with the two highest kill totals in the match. Scripko had a dozen kills, while Bacon added 11 kills and completed a double-double with 16 digs.

The Lady Flames' balanced attack also featured nine kills by McCarty and eight more by Brittany Pacella (R-Sr., RS, Reading, Pa.). Pacella narrowly missed her first career double-double, as she complemented her offensive numbers with 10 digs.

Corbin, the Big South Preseason Player of the Year, made a successful 2009 debut. She paced all players with 36 assists, and also hit .667 with six kills and five digs. Meanwhile, Haseman hustled all over the back row for the Lady Flames, posting a match-high and career-high 23 digs while adding a career-best four assists.

Baker was the lone UNC Greensboro player to reach double digits in the kill column, closing out the contest with 10 kills. Libero Catherine Hanners paced her squad with 11 digs.

The Lady Flames are scheduled to play a pair of Saturday matches at Virginia Tech, beginning with their first-ever matchup against Montana at 10 a.m.