Sophomore Kelly Haseman broke the Liberty rally-scoring record for most digs in a single season Friday afternoon. She has now tallied 544 digs this season.
Sophomore libero Kelly Haseman broke the Liberty rally-scoring single-season digs record Friday afternoon, but could not keep the Lady Flames from dropping a 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-15) decision to CAA foe Delaware in the opening match of the VCU Third Degree Sportswear Thanksgiving Invitational at the Siegel Center. Liberty drops to 20-13 on the season despite Haseman's (Three Rivers, Mich.) match-high 25 digs. The sophomore boosted her season total to 544 digs, shattering Jessica Nelson's previous record of 524 digs, set in 2007. Meanwhile, Delaware, the CAA's co-regular-season champion, boosts its record to 20-8 after notching eight aces on the afternoon. The Lady Flames used a 7-0 burst to take the lead midway through the opening set. Nicki Scripko's (Jr., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.) three kills and two blocks sparked the run, which put Liberty in front of the Fightin' Blue Hens, 14-8. However, a trio of Alissa Alker kills highlighted Delaware's ensuing 13-2 surge, giving the Fightin' Blue Hens the lead for good at 21-16. Katie Dennehy then closed out Delaware's tight 25-23 victory with a kill of her own. Liberty actually hit for a slightly higher percentage (.186-.180) than Delaware during set one, but the Fightin' Blue Hens used three service aces to key their victory. Kim Stewart's four kills paced Delaware's balanced attack. Meanwhile, Scripko hit .350 and notched seven kills to lead all players in the stanza. Haseman added a set-high 13 digs for the Lady Flames. An early 7-0 run, highlighted by consecutive Paige Erickson aces, lifted Delaware to an 8-1 advantage at the start of the second set. Liberty never recovered, and Dennehy's fifth ace of the set finished the Fightin' Blue Hens' 25-15 triumph. Freshman Loren Thomas (MB, Ocoee, Fla.) was effective for Liberty in the middle set, hitting 1.000 with five kills. However, Dennehy matched Thomas' kill total while hitting .625 for Delaware. Erickson added two of her team's four aces in the stanza. A pair of kills by Scripko helped Liberty build a 9-3 lead to start the third set. However, the Fightin' Blue Hens quickly turned the tables with an 11-2 burst. Delaware never trailed again, and Dennehy wrapped up yet another set with a kill, putting the finishing touches on her team's 25-15 win. Delaware hit a match-best .324 in the final session, led by Dennehy's .714 attack percentage and five kills. Michelle LaLonde added three of the Fightin' Blue Hens' four blocks. On the Liberty side of the net, Scripko recorded six of the Lady Flames' eight kills. On the afternoon, the two teams were deadlocked in both digs (59-59) and blocks (6-6). However, Delaware held the upper hand in attack percentage (.261-.122), kills (42-32) and aces (8-2). Liberty head coach Shane Pinder used exclusively underclassmen in his lineup on Friday, and several of them stepped up with solid performances. Haseman's 544 digs this season not only established a program rally-scoring record, but also rank No. 3 in Liberty history. No Lady Flame has tallied as many digs in a season since Nicole Nice had 545 in 1992. Scripko led all players with 17 kills, while hitting .261 with eight digs and three blocks. The junior has posted 480 kills in 2009, tying Erin McKeown's 2002 season total as Liberty's third-highest figure under the rally-scoring format. Both of Liberty's starting middle blockers enjoyed notable performances. Thomas hit a match-best .500 with eight kills, while Kirstyn Sanders (R-Jr., Bear, Del.) recorded a team-high four blocks. Sophomore setter Courtney Boggs (Marysville, Ohio) put together her fourth double-double of the season, including 27 assists and 11 digs. Dennehy led the Fightin' Blue Hens with a .393 attack percentage and 13 kills, while Stewart added 11 kills and a dozen digs. Stephanie Barry paced Delaware with 21 digs in the match. Liberty will close out its 2009 campaign Saturday at 4 p.m., when the Lady Flames take on tournament host VCU. Liberty will attempt to avenge a 3-0 setback to VCU during the teams' first matchup this season, on Oct. 27.