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Lady Flames Open 2007 Season with Sweep of Howard

August 24, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Freshman Karyl Bacon made a successful Liberty debut Friday evening, recording a double-double in the Lady Flames' win over Howard.

Freshman Karyl Bacon made a successful Liberty debut Friday evening, recording a double-double in the Lady Flames' win over Howard.

The Liberty volleyball team took advantage of its first season opener at home in 20 years, sweeping Howard, 3-0 (30-12, 30-11, 30-14), Friday evening at the Liberty Invitational Presented by Pepsi.

The victory, just Liberty's second in its last 13 season-opening matches, came courtesy of a balanced and efficient offensive attack. Eleven players saw action for the Lady Flames, and 10 of them recorded at least one kill, paced by freshman Karyl Bacon's (OH/DS, Temecula, Calif.) 10. Additionally, coach Shane Pinder's squad hit at least .346 in each of the three games, finishing at .395 for the night.

Liberty quickly took control of the opening game, roaring out to a 20-5 lead, on an early surge which included four kills by sophomore middle blocker Chelaine McCarty (Houston, Ala.). McCarty, Bacon and freshman Nicki Scripko (OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) all started their initial match in the blue and red Liberty uniform. Bacon provided a kill of her own to close the first game with a 30-12 Liberty decision.

Visiting Howard kept the middle game close during the early stages. An attack error by the Lady Flames brought the Bison to within 11-6. After a McCarty kill, Liberty ran off seven-consecutive points on Bacon's serve to break the game open, two of which were among Liberty's 10 aces on the evening. Ashley Webber (Jr., MB, Lakeside, Calif.) excelled in game two, recording four kills and hitting .600. Fittingly, she sent her side to the locker room with a 2-0 lead after wrapping up a 30-11 triumph with a kill.

Game three turned into the Bacon show. The diminutive freshman, who quickly became a favorite of the sizable opening-night crowd, notched seven of her kills in the final game. Liberty jumped out to a 17-4 advantage and never looked back. Brittany Pacella (R-So., RS, Reading, Pa.) provided a kill to finish the match with a 30-14 Liberty victory.

Webber ended up with nine kills, three blocks and a team-best .636 attack percentage. Fellow starting middle blocker McCarty contributed eight kills and a trio of blocks. Kallie Corbin (So. S, Beaverton, Ore.) totaled 35 assists for the Lady Flames, while Jessica Nelson (R-Jr., OH, Tokyo, Japan) made a successful return to the court. She ended up with five kills, eight digs and three aces in her first regular-season match since 2005.

Keri Partridge and Elyssa Lee tallied five kills apiece for the visiting Bison. Janel James and Morgan Maxwell evenly split 10 digs.

Friday's opening match of the tournament went the distance, as Duquesne outlasted Evansville, 3-2 (30-23, 20-30, 30-26, 23-30, 15-13), in a match which went 2:21. Nicole Wright led the way for the victorious Dukes, notching a team-high 19 kills and sharing the team lead with 25 digs. Ginta Gabruseva sparked Evansville's attack with 19 kills of her own.

The Liberty Invitational Presented by Pepsi will conclude with a quartet of Saturday matches. The host Lady Flames will bookend the day's action, opening up against Duquesne at 10:30 a.m. and battling Evansville in the nightcap at 6 p.m.