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Balanced Offense, Aces Push LU Past CSU, 3-1

October 16, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Brittany Pacella served for a career-high five aces during Liberty's 3-1 triumph over Charleston Southern.

Brittany Pacella served for a career-high five aces during Liberty's 3-1 triumph over Charleston Southern.

Four Liberty players recorded double-digit kills and the Lady Flames served up a season-high 11 aces, Friday evening at the Vines Center. As a result, Liberty was able to snap a two-match losing skid with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-13) victory over visiting Charleston Southern.

The Lady Flames' fourth consecutive home win improves the team's overall record to 11-9. Liberty, which was sparked by Karyl Bacon's (Jr., OH, Temecula, Calif.) season-high 17 kills and Brittany Pacella's (R-Sr., RS, Reading, Pa.) career-best five aces, is now 6-2 as it reaches the midpoint of the Big South Conference schedule. The Lady Flames claim second place in the conference standings, after their victory.

Charleston Southern falls to 11-11 overall and 2-5 in the Big South, after dropping its second straight match and fifth contest in its last six.

The opening set was the most tightly contested of the evening, including 10 ties and two lead changes. The final deadlock came at 16-16, before Emily Libertowski's kill put the Lady Buccaneers in front for good. She had two kills and a block during the closing stages of CSU's 25-22 triumph.

Charleston Southern was efficient offensively during set one, hitting .314. Leading the way was Nichole Diller, who hit 1.000 with a team-high four kills. Nicki Scripko (Jr., OH/RS, Fayetteville, N.C.) put down a set-high six kills for the Lady Flames, but Liberty only managed a .189 attack percentage.

A 5-0 Liberty run, featuring a kill and an ace by Chelaine McCarty (Sr., MB, Houston, Ala.), gave the Lady Flames an 11-8 advantage, which the home team never relinquished. Bacon came alive during the stanza, recording six kills, and fellow outside hitter Scripko's back-row kill put the finishing touches on a 25-20 Liberty win.

Serving played a key role, as the Lady Flames leveled the match at 1-1 heading to the intermission. McCarty and Pacella each tallied two of Liberty's four service aces during the stanza. On the opposite side of the net, Diller paced the Lady Buccaneers with four kills and a pair of blocks.

Liberty raced out to a 13-5 advantage to start the pivotal third set, sparked by three McCarty kills. Charleston Southern battled back and trimmed its deficit to 22-20 on Amanda Hill's kill, but the Lady Flames hung on to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Bacon's team-high fifth kill of the set wrapped up Liberty's 25-22 decision.

McCarty and Scripko chipped in with four kills each, as Liberty hit .317 for the session. Meanwhile, Hill kept CSU close with seven kills and six digs.

The Lady Buccaneers scored the first three points of set four. However, CSU's advantage was short-lived, as Liberty answered with a 9-1 burst. Setter Courtney Boggs (So., Marysville, Ohio) notched a kill and five assists during the decisive run, which put the Lady Flames ahead for good. The final point of Liberty's 25-13 win came on a Hannah Anderson (Fr., OH, Rocklin, Calif.) kill.

Led by Loren Thomas' (Fr., MB, Ocoee, Fla.) four kills and .800 attack percentage, the Lady Flames hit for their highest percentage of the night in the final set, .424. Bacon contributed four kills of her own, while Kelly Haseman (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) came up with six digs. Hill was responsible for three of the Lady Buccaneers' seven kills.

The Lady Flames, who improved their attack percentage in each set as the match progressed, ended the contest at .282, compared with CSU's .196 figure. Liberty also recorded eight more aces than its foe (11-3) and outdug the Lady Buccaneers, 66-59. Charleston Southern finished with a slight, 8-7, edge in the block column.

Five players in the match finished with double-doubles, including a trio of Lady Flames. Bacon complemented her 17 kills with a dozen digs and two aces, while Scripko's double-double consisted of 12 kills and 13 digs.

Boggs, making her second start of year, set for a Liberty season-high 53 assists and completed her first double-double of the year with 12 digs.

Both of the Lady Flames' middle blockers reached double digits in kills, including McCarty, who hit .393 with 14 kills and three aces. Thomas paced all players with a .421 attack percentage, while totaling 10 kills.

Pacella not only served for five aces, but also contributed five kills, three assists, six digs and a trio of blocks. Meanwhile, Haseman came up with a match-leading 19 digs.

For the Lady Buccaneers, Hill spiked for a team-high 16 kills, while also notching 12 digs and three aces. Diller added 11 kills, 12 digs and three blocks.

Libero Tricia Rodl led the visitors with 15 digs, while Cori Holeman paced all players with five blocks.

Liberty will now embark upon a four-match road swing. The trip will begin Tuesday, when the Lady Flames aim for their 17th consecutive win over Radford. Match time at the Dedmon Center, site of the 2009 Big South Volleyball Championship, is set for 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Charleston Southern will continue its current stretch of five consecutive road tilts tomorrow at 2 p.m., when the Lady Buccaneers visit High Point.