Nicki Scripko led all players with 14 kills during Saturday's championship match of the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational.
In a battle between two Commonwealth teams for the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational title Saturday evening, the host Virginia Tech Hokies claimed a 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-18) victory over Liberty. Despite Nicki Scripko's (Jr., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) match-leading 14 kills, the Lady Flames fall to 1-2 to open the 2009 campaign. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is now 3-0 after dropping only two sets on the weekend at Cassell Coliseum. Neither team led by more than three points during a tightly-played opening set. The two squads were deadlocked 15 times during the stanza, the last of which came at 22-22. Virginia Tech then captured the set, 25-22, after tallying three straight markers. An ace by Betsy Horowitz, the first of the evening for either team, provided the winning point for the Hokies. The Hokies' Taylor Parrish led all players with six opening-set kills, while teammate Jill Gergen came up with a set-high five digs. Karyl Bacon (Jr., OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) led the Lady Flames with four kills and a matching number of digs. Meanwhile, Chelaine McCarty (Sr., MB, Houston, Ala.) added three kills and three blocks during the first set. The host Hokies led for most of the second set, after an early 4-0 surge converted a 7-5 deficit into a 9-7 edge. After a Parrish kill increased Virginia Tech's lead to 22-18, Liberty made a last-ditch effort to even the match at one set apiece. Scripko recorded a kill and a solo block during the Lady Flames' ensuing 4-0 burst, which evened the score at 22-22. Liberty also tied things up at 23 and 24, before Jennifer Wiker's kill and Kirsten Higareda's ace sent the Hokies into the locker room with a 26-24 set victory and a 2-0 advantage in the match. Liberty actually outhit its host, .233 to .226, during set two and notched four blocks to the Hokies' one. Wiker sparked Virginia Tech with five kills during the stanza, while Justine Record hustled her way to a set-leading seven digs. Scripko starred for the Lady Flames, tallying five kills and four digs in the set. Virginia Tech never trailed during the final set, leading by as many as eight points on its way to a 25-18 victory. A Horowitz kill closed out the match, earning the championship trophy for the Hokies. Horowitz hit 1.000 with four kills during set three, helping her team hit .342 for the period. Parrish had a hand in all three Virginia Tech blocks. For Liberty, Scripko recorded five kills in the set, while libero Kelly Haseman (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) totaled eight digs. On the evening, the primary difference between the two teams' statistics came in the offensive categories. Virginia Tech ended up with nine more kills than the Lady Flames (49-40) and outhit its visitor, .279 to .175. Scripko added eight digs to go along with her season-high equaling 14 kills for Liberty. Bacon has now recorded a double-double in each of her three matches this season, after closing Saturday evening's match with 11 kills and 11 digs. Bacon tied Haseman for the team lead in the dig category, as the sophomore libero has now reached double-digits in digs 11 times in her last 12 outings. McCarty also contributed defensively, notching a season-best four blocks. Lady Flames setter Kallie Corbin (Sr., S, Beaverton, Ore.) was voted to the all-tournament team, after coming up with 34 assists, five digs and a trio of blocks versus Virginia Tech. Parrish, who paced the Hokies with a dozen kills and added four blocks, took home tournament MVP honors. Joining her on the all-tournament roster were Felicia Willoughby, who hit .438 with nine kills in the title match, and Cara Baarendse, whose .562 attack percentage featured 10 kills. Libero Jill Gergen closed the contest with a match-high 17 digs for Virginia Tech, while Erin Leaser put up 43 assists. Liberty will now return home to host the Liberty Invitational presented by Pepsi, scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames will face East Tennessee State in their 2009 home opener at the Vines Center, Friday at 7 p.m. Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational All-Tournament Team Taylor Parrish, Virginia Tech (MVP) Cara Baarendse, Virginia Tech Felicia Willoughby, Virginia Tech Kallie Corbin, Liberty Catherine Hanners, UNC Greensboro Brittney Brown, Montana Stephanie Turner, Montana Tournament Champion: Virginia Tech (3-0)