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Lady Flames Close Out Regular Season at UNC Asheville, Gardner-Webb
Liberty's 2013 regular-season schedule wraps up this weekend, as the Lady Flames compete at UNC Asheville on Friday at 7 p.m., before taking on Gardner-Webb, Saturday at 4 p.m. Liberty (8-17, 7-5 Big South) enters the week in a three-way tie for third place in the Big South, along with UNC Asheville and High Point, two matches out of first. Gardner-Webb is currently in seventh place, at 6-6.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames are coming off of a resounding 3-0 sweep of Campbell, last Saturday, during which they outhit the Camels, .284 to -.023. Liberty leads the Big South in blocks per set (2.53) and opponents' hitting percentage (.153) during Big South play.
Freshman Nzea McQuitery was named Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday, after scoring a career-high 13 kills on Friday against High Point.
Senior Jade Craycraft recorded her fifth triple-double this season, against High Point, while Caroline Douglas recorded her first career double-double. Kendle Rollins set a new career high with 11 blocks, while Gabrielle Shipe collected a career-high 31 digs.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for both of this weekend's matches, through links on LibertyFlames.com. Live stats will appear courtesy of the respective Athletics Communications offices of UNC Asheville and Gardner-Webb. Friday's match at UNC Asheville can also be viewed through free live video streaming via the Big South Network.
McQuitery Named Big South Freshman of the Week
Following a week in which she set a career high in kills, Liberty middle blocker Nzea McQuitery was named Big South Volleyball Freshman of the Week, Monday. It is her first career weekly honor.
She hit .368 for the week, averaging 2.38 kills and 0.62 blocks per set. McQuitery set a new career high with 13 kills on Friday against High Point, hitting .360 in the process. She ranks eighth in the conference with a .288 hitting percentage during Big South play.
Stepping Up on Defense
The Lady Flames lead the Big South in blocks, both overall (2.37) and in conference play (2.53), while leading the league in opponents' hitting percentage during Big South matches (.153).
On Friday against High Point, Liberty recorded a season-high 17 blocks, the most since a 17-block Lady Flames outburst, Oct. 21, 2011 at Winthrop. Kendle Rollins posted a career-high 11 blocks, becoming the first Lady Flame in the rally-scoring era to register back-to-back 10 block matches.
On Saturday, Liberty held Campbell to an opponents' season-low hitting percentage, -.023.
How Many Triple-Doubles is That Now?
On Friday against High Point, senior Jade Craycraft recorded her fifth triple-double of the season, and sixth of her career, with 10 kills, 32 assists and 13 digs, to go along with four blocks. She has now passed Kallie Corbin's (4, set in 2006) single-season program record for triple-doubles in the rally-scoring era. Craycraft has tied Corbin's six career triple-doubles, the most by a Lady Flame since the start of the 2001 season.
Craycraft became the fifth player in program history with 4,000 career assists, reaching the milestone on Saturday versus Campbell, and she is currently at 4,008.
Gabrielle Shipe collected a career-high 31 digs versus High Point, her fourth straight 20-dig match. She is the first Lady Flame since Kelly Haseman (35 digs vs. UNC Asheville, Nov. 13, 2010) with a 30-dig match. The last time a Liberty player had four or more 20-dig contests in a row was in 2006, when Lara Bartolomeo posted 20+ digs in six straight matches.
Shipe picked up her 1,000th career dig, Oct. 25, at Presbyterian College, and is currently ranked 17th in program history with 1,089 digs.
Moving on Up
Senior Lillie Happel recorded her seventh double-double of 2013 on Nov. 1 versus Radford, with 10 kills and 12 digs. In the process, she passed current assistant coach Rebecca Rudnick (2001-04) into 10th place in program history, and now has 1,185 career kills.
Happel needs 43 more digs to reach 1,000 career digs.
Own the Net
Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins leads the Big South in blocks per set, both overall (1.15) and in conference play (1.20).
With her back-to-back 10-block matches, she joins Loren Thomas (2), Chelaine McCarty (2) as the only Lady Flames with at least two 10-block matches since the start of the 2001 season.
Rollins ranks fifth in program history with 409 career blocks, 10 away from fourth-place Stacy Collier (1994-97)
Redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas, the 2012 Big South Player and Freshman of the Year, missed all but one of Liberty's first 19 matches this season due to injury. In six matches since returning full-time to the court, Douglas has recorded five double-digit kill contests. In a 3-2 setback to High Point, Friday, she recorded her first career double-double, with a season-high tying 14 kills and career-high 13 digs.
Liberty vs. UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville (17-11, 7-5) is in a three-way tie for third in the conference, along with Liberty and High Point. The Bulldogs have a perfect 8-0 home record, including 5-0 in conference play at the Justice Center. Rachel Wells paces the Big South and ranks second in the nation with 5.95 digs per set. Anna Moore averages 2.83 kills per set, while ranking fourth in the Big South in both hitting percentage (.312) and aces per set (0.35) and seventh in blocks per set. Christine Lakatos is third in the Big South with 3.48 kills per set, while Katie Davis is second with 10.01 assists per set.
Third-year head coach Frederico Santos is 44-46 at UNC Asheville following three seasons during which he led Barry to a 46-31 record.
Liberty leads UNC Asheville, 33-20, in the all-time series, including 14-9 under Pinder. The two teams split the season series last year, and the last three series meetings have all been won by the home team.
The Lady Flames swept UNC Asheville, 3-0, on Oct. 5, 2013, outhitting the Bulldogs, .278-.017 to pick up their first Big South win. Liberty outblocked Asheville, 12-0, marking the first time in rally-scoring history that an opponent failed to register a single block.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb
Gardner-Webb (15-15, 6-6 Big South) has lost three in a row, and four out of its last five, after getting off to a 5-2 start in Big South play. The Runnin' Bulldogs are 7-2 at Paul Porter Arena this season. Erin Anderson leads the Runnin' Bulldogs with 2.82 kills per set, while Heather Feldman ranks third in the Big South with 9.99 assists per set. Anna Pashkova, at 5.25 digs per set, ranks fifth in the conference, while Tyra Montour is sixth with 1.01 blocks per set.
Third-year head coach Leo Sayles holds a 34-57 record at Gardner-Webb after going 153-111 during seven years at Bryan College.
Liberty leads the all-time series over the Runnin' Bulldogs, 14-2, winning the first 11 meetings. During each of Gardner-Webb's first four seasons in the Big South (2008-11), Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb in the Big South tournament's opening round.
The Runnin' Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Lady Flames, 3-2, on Oct. 4, earning its first-ever victory in the Vines Center. Erin Anderson led all players with 18 kills, one of four Runnin' Bulldogs with a double-double. Jade Craycraft recorded her second triple-double in a row, while Lillie Happel and Kendle Rollins both tallied 16 kills.
Ending on a High Note
Liberty has won its final match prior to the Big South Volleyball Championship during each of the last 16 seasons, dating back to 1997. The Lady Flames swept Gardner-Webb, 3-0, in the final match of the 2012 regular season. Prior to that, each of Liberty's previous three (2009-11) regular-season finales had ended in 3-2 victories for the Lady Flames.
While the eight teams who will compete in the 2013 Big South Volleyball Championship have been determined, seeding remains up in the air with two matches left. Coastal Carolina and Radford lead the conference, at 9-3. Liberty, UNC Asheville and High Point, all 7-5, are tied for third. Those three are followed closely by Presbyterian College (7-6), Gardner-Webb (6-6) and Winthrop (6-7). Official seeding for the conference tournament will be announced by the Big South, Saturday evening.