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Liberty Falls to Coastal in BSC Title Match

November 21, 2009  Radford, Va.  RSS
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Kelly Haseman recorded a career-high 33 digs on Saturday and earned a spot on the Big South all-tournament team.

Kelly Haseman recorded a career-high 33 digs on Saturday and earned a spot on the Big South all-tournament team.

Unfortunately for the No. 2-seeded Liberty volleyball team, the third time was not the charm during Saturday afternoon's Big South Volleyball Championship title match against No. 4 seed Coastal Carolina at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va. The Lady Flames were seeking their third straight Big South title and third victory over the Chanticleers this season, but Coastal Carolina claimed the conference championship with a 3-1 (25-16, 25-18, 25-27, 25-21) win.

Liberty falls to 20-12, despite Nicki Scripko's (Jr., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) third straight 20-kill performance of the tournament and Kelly Haseman's (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) career-high 33 digs. Both Scripko and Haseman were named to the all-tournament team after the match. For Scripko, it was her third consecutive Big South all-tournament team appearance.

Coastal Carolina, which now advances to its first NCAA Tournament since 1998, boosts its record to 20-13. The Chanticleers were led by tournament MVP Chelsy Kimes and all-tournament performers Megan Bickford and Sierra Livesay, all of whom recorded double-digit kills on Saturday.

Sparked by two early Brittany Pacella (R-Sr., RS, Reading, Pa.) kills, the Lady Flames jumped out to a 4-2 advantage to start the first set. Coastal Carolina then used a pair of Kimes kills during an ensuing 3-0 burst. The Chanticleers did not trail again in the first stanza, and Jill Nyhof's kill finished their 25-16 victory.

Coastal Carolina hit .311 during set one, led by Kimes' eight kills. Scripko's four kills paced the Lady Flames, who also got a set-high 11 kills from Haseman.

The two teams were deadlocked at 13-13 during a competitive second stanza, before Coastal Carolina scored seven of the next nine points. Back-to-back Meagan Tracey aces punctuated the run, which gave the Chanticleers a 20-15 edge. Shortly thereafter, Kimes' third kill of the set closed out Coastal Carolina's 25-18 triumph.

Bickford hit .300 with four kills to highlight the Chanticleers' set two triumph, while Scripko recorded four more kills for the Lady Flames.

Liberty pulled out a hard-fought win in the third set, after battling through 10 tie scores and four set points. Freshman Loren Thomas (MB, Ocoee, Fla.) posted two of the Lady Flames' last three kills in the stanza, which ended with Liberty on top, 27-25.

Thomas hit 1.000 with three kills and two blocks during set three, as Liberty cut its deficit to 2-1. Outside hitters Scripko and Karyl Bacon (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) notched five kills apiece and Haseman hustled her way to 11 more digs. Livesay's five kills paced the Chanticleers.

Coastal Carolina quickly took control of the fourth set, racing out to a 10-3 lead. The Lady Flames battled back, pulling to within 22-20 on a block by Scripko and Thomas. However, Big South Freshman of the Year Livesay recorded kills on each of the next two rallies. The Chanticleers then wrapped up the Big South Championship on Nyhof's kill, which made the final score 25-21.

Livesay starred throughout set four, hitting .545 with seven kills for the Chanticleers. Scripko tallied a matching number of kills for Liberty, but it was not enough to prolong the match.

For the match, Coastal Carolina led the way in kills (65-53), attack percentage (.224-.164), aces (4-1) and blocks (8-5). Led by Haseman, Liberty owned an 82-80 edge in digs.

Scripko finished the contest with 20 kills, 17 digs and three blocks. With her 66 kills at the Big South Championship, the junior increased her season total to 463. That is the most kills by a Lady Flame since current assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden had 507 in 2004.

Fellow outside hitter Bacon joined Scripko in double figures, tallying 11 kills and 20 digs on the afternoon.

Haseman's 33 digs not only established a new career high, but also fell just two shy of Liberty's rally-scoring record of 35. The sophomore has come up with 519 digs this season, which ranks No. 2 on Liberty's rally-scoring record list and No. 4 in program history for a single campaign.

Liberty setter Courtney Boggs (So., Marysville, Ohio) finished with 44 assists, four digs and a trio of kills for the sixth double-double in her last seven outings.

Livesay paced Coastal Carolina with 18 kills and also added 11 digs. Kimes notched a double-double of her own, consisting of 16 kills and 15 digs. Bickford had 12 kills, while fellow middle blocker Nyhof helped out on a match-leading six blocks.

Chanticleer setter Meagan Tracey finished with 50 assists, 10 digs, seven kills and three aces in a fine performance. Meanwhile, libero Megan Pollard's 27 digs paced Coastal Carolina.

Liberty will now prepare for the VCU Third Degree Sportswear Invitational, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Siegel Center. The Lady Flames will take on two of the CAA's top teams at the Thanksgiving weekend event, beginning with a match against Delaware Friday at noon.

QUOTES

Coastal Carolina Head Coach Kristen Bauer
"Honestly, I am a little bit shocked, not at how my team played but just in general after the year that we had, not coming as the first, second, or third seed. So, we are just thrilled and proud that we played so well. I know that Liberty didn't have their best match today, but they are a team that we have to hold up to high standards. They really are just good people."

Liberty Head Coach Shane Pinder
"It was great to be back in the championship match. I'm proud of our seniors. They never gave up. Everyone on the team showed a lot of character today and played hard. But we have to give credit to Coastal, because they played efficiently and made us earn every point. We wish them luck in the NCAA."

Big South Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team
Chelsy Kimes, Coastal Carolina (MVP)
Sierra Livesay, Coastal Carolina
Megan Bickford, Coastal Carolina
Nicki Scripko, Liberty
Kelly Haseman, Liberty
Amanda Hill, Charleston Southern