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VCU Spoils Bacon's Milestone with 3-0 Win

October 27, 2009  Richmond, Va.  RSS
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Karyl Bacon joined the 1,000-dig club early in Tuesday's match at VCU.

Karyl Bacon joined the 1,000-dig club early in Tuesday's match at VCU.

Liberty junior Karyl Bacon notched her 1,000th career dig as part of a double-double, Tuesday evening at VCU. However, the host Rams used a dozen blocks to control the net and claim a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17) victory at the Siegel Center.

Liberty, playing its final non-conference contest before next month's Big South Volleyball Championship, sees its four-match winning streak halted. The Lady Flames fall to 14-10 on the season.

Meanwhile, VCU, the second-place team in the Colonial Athletic Association, boosts its ledger to 18-8.

Bacon (OH, Temecula, Calif.) entered the contest one dig shy of 1,000 for her career, and wasted little time in collecting it. She reached the milestone on the second rally of the evening. However, Liberty did not take its first lead until Nicki Scripko's (Jr., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) kill made it 11-10. Her spike came in the midst of an 8-1 surge by the Lady Flames, which converted a 10-7 deficit into a 15-11 advantage.

VCU countered with a 13-3 run, spearheaded by setter Lenka Melicharkova. Her four kills and one assist helped the Rams claim a 24-18 lead late in the opening stanza. Shortly thereafter, host VCU wrapped up a 25-19 victory.

The Rams' superior blocking keyed their set one triumph, as they notched five rejections and limited Liberty to a .079 team attack percentage. Kelsie Clegg, who stands 6-5, had a hand in all five VCU blocks, while Melicharkova tallied four kills, seven assists, four digs and two blocks. Bacon stood out on the Liberty side of the net, posting four kills and a set-high nine digs.

Scripko helped Liberty get off to a fast start in set two, recording a pair of kills, a solo block and a service ace during a 9-4 set-opening surge. VCU gradually closed the gap and knotted the score at 12-12. The two teams were tied, 16-16, before the Rams took control of the set with a 5-0 burst. Liberty made a late rally attempt, but VCU took a 2-0 lead into intermission after Clegg's kill finished off a 25-22 triumph.

Clegg contributed to the Rams' .326 team attack percentage during the second set, putting away six kills and hitting .545. Bacon and Scripko evenly split eight kills for Liberty, while Kelly Haseman (So., L/DS, Three Rivers, Mich.) had a set-high eight digs.

Three consecutive blocks by Clegg helped the Rams open up a 12-7 edge, midway through the third set. Liberty got no closer than four points down the rest of the evening, and VCU completed a 3-0 sweep with a 25-17 victory.

VCU's blocking was at its best during the final stanza, with Clegg assisting on four of her team's six rejections. As a result, Liberty only managed a .033 attack percentage for the session. Mariel Frey highlighted the Rams' attack, hitting .750 with six kills. Scripko was the Lady Flames' top offensive performer in the third set, posting a trio of kills.

The homestanding Rams owned the advantage in nearly every statistical category on the evening, including attack percentage (.297 to .101), aces (3 to 1), digs (51 to 48) and blocks (12 to 4). VCU's attack percentage and block figures were both the highest by a Liberty opponent since the Lady Flames squared off with Louisville on Sept. 12.

Bacon's seventh double-double of the season featured a team-high 10 kills and 14 digs. The junior, who also led the Lady Flames with a .417 attack percentage, now has 1,013 career digs.

Scripko nearly joined Bacon in double figures in the kill column, finishing with nine kills and five digs. Meanwhile, reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Week Haseman recorded a match-best 16 digs.

Setter Courtney Boggs (So., Marysville, Ohio), tabbed a Top Performer earlier in the day, contributed 26 assists, three kills and seven digs for the Lady Flames.

Frey led the Rams' balanced offensive attack with 10 kills and added a matching number of digs. Clegg chipped in with eight kills and nine blocks.

Melicharkova ended up with a match-high 31 assists, five kills and nine digs, while teammate Marisa Low paced the Rams with 11 digs.

Liberty will return to the Vines Center Saturday, beginning a four-match Big South homestand with a contest against Presbyterian. The Lady Flames will attempt to complete a season sweep of the Blue Hose, after claiming a 3-0 decision at Presbyterian on Oct. 2. First serve is set for Noon.