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Team Effort Leads Liberty Past Radford, 3-1

October 20, 2009  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Karyl Bacon's career-high 30 digs helped Liberty defeat Radford, 3-1.

Karyl Bacon's career-high 30 digs helped Liberty defeat Radford, 3-1.

A balanced offensive attack and Karyl Bacon's career-high 30 digs helped propel Liberty past Radford, 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-21), in a Tuesday evening Big South Conference volleyball match at the Dedmon Center.

Five players recorded between eight and 15 kills for the visiting Lady Flames, who boosted their overall record to 12-9 and their Big South ledger to 7-2. Liberty is tied with Winthrop for second place in the conference standings, after recording their 17th consecutive victory over Radford.

On the opposite side of the net, the Highlanders' overall record drops to 11-14. Radford is 1-8 in the Big South, after losing six of its last seven outings.

For the fifth consecutive match, Liberty was unable to take the opening set, as the Highlanders came out on top of a back-and-forth stanza. Carly Fleming's kill gave Radford a 15-11 edge, before the Lady Flames battled back. Liberty went on top, 23-22, after a Kelly Haseman (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) ace. However, the Highlanders scored the next three points, with the final two markers of their 25-23 victory coming on aces by Katelyn Meeks.

Liberty hit .235 during set one, as opposed to Radford's .189 attack percentage, and the Lady Flames notched four of the set's five blocks. Serving and the offensive efficiency of Mariah Nussbaum were keys to the Highlanders' win, though. Radford served up a quartet of aces during the opening stanza, and Nussbaum hit .500 with five kills. Nicki Scripko's (Jr., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) six kills led all players in the first set.

Freshman Loren Thomas (MB, Ocoee, Fla.) took over the latter stages of set two with her attacking. Three consecutive kills by Thomas closed out a 25-16 Liberty win, enabling the Lady Flames to even the match at 1-1 heading to intermission.

For the stanza, Thomas hit .500 with a set-high five kills. The session also featured numerous long rallies, and Haseman came up with 11 of Liberty's 31 digs. Nussbaum's trio of kills paced Radford's attack.

The homestanding Highlanders led for the first half of the pivotal third set, owning a 13-9 edge before Liberty answered. The Lady Flames fashioned an ensuing 11-2 surge, taking advantage of seven Radford attack errors. Now leading by a 20-15 count, the Lady Flames went on to claim a 25-20 victory on Scripko's fourth kill of the stanza.

The Lady Flames outhit Radford during set three, .293 to .118. Complementing Scripko's effort was fellow outside hitter and classmate Bacon (Temecula, Calif.), who contributed four kills and a set-high 11 digs to Liberty's win.

Sophomore setter Courtney Boggs (Marysville, Ohio), making her third consecutive start in place of the injured Kallie Corbin (Sr., S, Beaverton, Ore.), did a little bit of everything for head coach Shane Pinder's Lady Flames during the fourth and final set. With the Lady Flames trailing, 18-17, Boggs notched a kill, an assist and a block assist during a 4-0 burst which gave Liberty the lead for good. Shortly thereafter, the Lady Flames closed out the match with a 25-21 win.

For the second straight match, Liberty increased its team attack percentage in each set throughout the match. The Lady Flames hit a match-high .306 to win the final set, with Boggs playing a key role. She hit .500 with a team-leading four kills, 11 assists, one ace, three digs and one block during the fourth stanza. Thomas added three kills, hitting .750 for the victorious Lady Flames. For Radford, Lynchburg native Laura Waddell spiked for a set-high four kills.

Liberty ended the contest with a .269 attack percentage, more than doubling Radford's .124 mark. The Lady Flames also had the upper hand in digs (83-77) and blocks (7-3), although the Highlanders notched seven aces to Liberty's three.

Scripko paced all players with 15 kills, and was joined in double figures by both of Liberty's starting middle blockers. Chelaine McCarty (Sr., Houston, Ala.) hit .375 with 11 kills, while Thomas reached double digits for the second consecutive outing with 10 kills. Thomas also recorded the highest attack percentage of the evening (.562) and had a hand in a match-best four blocks.

Boggs flirted with her first career triple-double, finishing with a match-high 45 assists, a career-high eight kills and eight digs.

Bacon and Haseman helped Liberty equal a season high with 83 digs. Bacon's 30 digs were the most by a Lady Flame since Lara Bartolomeo hustled her way to 31 digs at Radford on Sept. 22, 2007. Meanwhile, Haseman's 22-dig performance was the seventh time the sophomore has topped the 20-dig mark in 2009.

Nussbaum was the lone Highlander to exceed 10 kills, as she hit a team-high .379 with 14 kills. Desiree Aramburu posted 44 assists, while Meeks led her squad with 19 digs.

Liberty will now prepare for a weekend road trip to South Carolina. The first stop will take the Lady Flames to Coastal Carolina, for a 7 p.m. Friday tilt between two of the conference's top four teams.

Meanwhile, Radford will also take to the road this weekend. The Highlanders are scheduled to play at Gardner-Webb, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday evening.