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Lady Flames Head to Durham for Duke Invitational
Complete Match Notes
The Liberty volleyball team (1-6) continues its 10-match road swing this week, competing in the Duke Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames, who play 13 out of their first 14 matches on the road this season, seek their first road victory of 2013.
Liberty faces the host Duke Blue Devils (4-2) on Friday at noon, followed by a 5 p.m. match against the SEC's South Carolina (3-3). The Lady Flames close out the weekend against Utah State (5-2), the 2012 WAC regular-season champion.
Liberty at a Glance
Two-time defending Big South champion Liberty won its home opener last Tuesday, 3-1, over Georgetown, marking the Lady Flames' 700th win in program history and the 175th coaching win for 10th year head coach Shane Pinder. The Lady Flames have won 15 straight home matches.
On Saturday against No. 21 Kentucky, senior Lillie Happel recorded her 1,000th career kill to become the 14th member of Liberty's 1,000-kill club. Senior setter Jade Craycraft was named to the all-tournament team at the Kentucky Classic.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all of this week's matches at Cameron Indoor Stadium, through links on LibertyFlames.com. Live stats will appear courtesy of the Duke athletics media relations office. Liberty's contest against Duke on Friday will be video streamed, for a small fee, through Duke's Inside Access video site.
Week in Review
Liberty won its home opener, 3-1, over Georgetown, last Tuesday, running its home winning streak to 15 matches. Tuesday night's victory marked the 700th win in program history, and also was the 175th win in the career of Head Coach Shane Pinder. Lillie Happel (17 kills, 10 digs) and Jade Craycraft (10 kills, 42 assists) both recorded double-doubles, while Susan Babcock and Kendle Rollins posted 11 kills each.
The Lady Flames then competed in the Kentucky Classic, falling to VCU, 2012 Atlantic Sun champion East Tennessee State and No. 21 Kentucky. On Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, Happel scored a season-high 13 kills, giving her 1,001 kills for her career. Craycraft received all-tournament honors at the Kentucky Classic.
The Lady Flames reached two milestones with their 3-1 win over Georgetown on Sept. 3. The win was the 700th victory in program history, and was also win No. 175 for 10th-year head coach Shane Pinder.
Pinder holds a 175-127 career record, and is ranked second all-time in program history for career volleyball coaching victories. He needs 24 more wins to pass Chris Phillips (1992-97, 1999-2003) into first place on the program wins list.
Senior outside hitter Lillie Happel, a two-time all-conference selection, recorded her 1,000th career kill at No. 21 Kentucky, Saturday. In the process, she became the 14th player in program history to record 1,000 career kills.
Current Liberty assistant coaches Jennifer (Belk) Vaden (2001-04) and Rebecca Rudnick (2001-04) are both members of the 1,000-kill club. Vaden is third on Liberty's all-time list, with 1,789 career kills, while Rudnick (1,164) is 10th. Erin McKeown (2000-03), Senior Woman Administrator and color analyst for Liberty volleyball, is 8th with 1,308 kills.
Own the Net
The Lady Flames registered a season-best 13.5 team blocks last Tuesday against Georgetown. Liberty received seven rejections from Kendle Rollins and a career-high six blocks from Nzea McQuitery, while Jade Craycraft added five blocks.
Liberty is now ranked third in the Big South with 2.25 blocks per set. The team has led the Big South in blocking in each of the last three seasons.
Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins stands at sixth all-time at Liberty with 332 career blocks. She is 10 blocks away from entering the top five in program history.
Versatility at Setter
Senior Jade Craycraft, the 2012 Big South Tournament MVP, is a three-time all-conference setter. She was named to the Big South All-Conference first team in 2012, when she led the team with 1,152 assists and 11 double-doubles. Craycraft guided the Lady Flames to a program-record and conference-best .250 team hitting percentage last year.
Craycraft has totaled 3,466 career assists, ranking seventh in program history. She has also recorded 241 blocks, 711 digs, 462 kills and 107 aces. The senior has a chance to enter the top 10 in program history in blocks and service aces by season's end.
Freshmen Susan Babcock and Nzea McQuitery have made an early impact for the Lady Flames, with both players seeing quality playing time.
Babcock is tied for second on the team with 1.68 kills per set, and recorded a career-high 11 kills last Tuesday against Georgetown.
McQuitery averages 0.87 blocks per set, ranking third on the Lady Flames. She posted six block assists against Georgetown, good for a career high.
Duke enters the weekend with a 4-2 record, with its two losses coming to No. 4 Minnesota and No. 9 Florida. The Blue Devils were predicted to finish sixth in the ACC after going 15-17 overall last season. Senior libero Ali McCurdy, a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and three-time honorable mention All-American, paces Duke with 4.33 digs per set. 2012 ACC All-Freshman team member Emily Sklar leads the Blue Devils with 3.87 kills per set. Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister averages 9.06 assists per set, while senior Chelsea Cook averages a team-best 1.0 blocks per set.
Jolene Nagel, in her 15th year at Duke, is 308-140 as head coach for the Blue Devils, and 511-280 in a career which also includes stops at Cornell and Georgetown. Duke's all-time wins leader, she has led the team to 11 20-win seasons.
Duke holds a 3-0 record all-time against Liberty in volleyball, beginning with a 3-0 win over the Lady Flames in Durham, Oct. 7, 1989. In the teams' most recent meeting, Sept. 19, 2009 in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Blue Devils rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2. Liberty's last trip to Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium saw the Lady Flames take on No. 7 California in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina (3-3) has already faced a pair of Big South opponents this season, sweeping High Point while losing, 3-2, to Winthrop. The Gamecocks posted an 18-14 record last season, after starting the season 13-0. Senior Juliette Thévenin, a 2012 All-SEC second team player, leads the SEC and is ranked sixth nationally with 5.09 kills per set. Sophomore Darian Dozier is among the SEC's leaders with 1.22 blocks per set. Redshirt sophomore Kellie McNeil averages 10.41 assists per set, while junior Michaela Christiaansen averages a team-best 3.7 digs per set.
Scott Swanson, in his third year at South Carolina, has guided the Gamecocks to a 35-33 overall record. He coached for four years at UTEP, totaling a 50-61 record.
Liberty and South Carolina have met just one time in volleyball, with the Gamecocks downing the Lady Flames, 3-0, on Sept. 1, 2000, in Columbia, S.C. The Lady Flames are 2-8 all-time against SEC opponents, with wins over Alabama (2001) and Mississippi (1998), and faced No. 21 Kentucky of the SEC last weekend.
Scouting Utah State
Utah State, the 2012 WAC regular-season champion, is off to a 5-2 start, including wins in each of its last three matches. The Aggies return four all-conference players from last season's 21-9 team. Junior Rachel Orr, an All-WAC athlete in volleyball and track & field, paces the team with 3.65 kills per set. 2012 All-WAC first-team selection Paige Neves dishes out a team-high 9.57 assists per set. Elle Brainard (2.45 kills per set) and Kaitlyn VanHoff (1.0 blocks per set) were named second team all-conference a year ago. Alyssa Everett leads the Aggies with 1.10 blocks per set.
Aggies head coach Grayson DuBose holds a 118-100 career record, and is in his eighth season at the helm. He was named the WAC Volleyball Coach of the Year following the 2007 and 2012 campaigns.
Liberty and Utah State will be meeting for the first time. The Lady Flames are 1-1 all-time against 2013 members of the WAC, as Liberty swept CSU Bakersfield, 3-0, on Sept. 10, 2011 in Lynchburg.