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Lady Flames to Close Out Home Schedule Against High Point, Campbell This Weekend
Liberty closes out its 2013 home volleyball schedule this weekend, taking on High Point, Friday at 5 p.m. before facing Campbell on Saturday at 1 p.m. Prior to Saturday's match, Liberty will honor its volleyball seniors: student manager Logan Shackelford, Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel, Becca Haraf and Kendle Rollins.
Liberty (7-16, 6-4 Big South) and High Point (12-13, 6-4) are both part of a four-way tie for third in the Big South, behind Coastal Carolina (8-3) and Radford (7-3). Campbell (13-14, 3-7) is currently in ninth place in the conference.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames edged then first-place Radford, 3-2, last Friday, holding the Highlanders to a season-low .127 hitting percentage, thanks in part to a season-high 14 blocks.
Senior Jade Craycraft recorded her fourth triple-double of the season, while Lillie Happel (10 kills, 12 digs) entered Liberty's top 10 in all-time kills. Redshirt sophomore Caroline Douglas (14 kills) and Melissa Racz (12) both set season highs in kills. Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins posted a career-high 10 blocks and junior Gabrielle Shipe had 22 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 Liberty's Athletics Communications office. Friday's match can also be viewed through free live video streaming via the Big South Network, with Ray Jones on play-by-play and Erin McKeown providing analysis.
Liberty edged then conference leader Radford, 3-2, on Friday at the Vines Center, gaining a match in the standings. The Lady Flames held the top hitting team in the conference to a .127 hitting percentage, thanks in part to a season-high 14 blocks.
Friday's match was Liberty's first five-set win in three tries this season, and first win in 2013 when trailing after the first set.
How Many Triple-Doubles is That?
On Friday against Radford, senior Jade Craycraft recorded her fourth triple-double of the season, and fifth of her career, with 10 kills, 42 assists and 11 digs, to go along with three aces. She has tied Kallie Corbin's (2006) single-season program record for triple-doubles in the rally-scoring era. Corbin posted six career triple-doubles, the most by a Lady Flame since the start of the 2001 season.
Craycraft is now ranked fifth all-time at Liberty with 3,954 career assists, and needs 46 more assists to reach 4,000 for her career.
Moving on Up
Senior Lillie Happel recorded her seventh double-double of 2013 on Friday, with 10 kills and 12 digs. In the process, she passed current assistant coach Rebecca Rudnick (2001-04) into 10th place in program history with 1,171 career kills.
Happel needs 55 more digs to reach 1,000 career digs.
Junior Gabrielle Shipe collected 22 digs against Radford, good for her third straight 20-dig match, the first time since Kelly Haseman in November, 2010, that a Lady Flame has registered three consecutive 20-dig matches. 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 1,048 digs.
Own the Net
Liberty averages 2.32 blocks per set, to lead the Big South. The Lady Flames have recorded double-digit block totals in each of their last three matches, including a season-high 14 blocks on Friday against Radford.
Redshirt senior Kendle Rollins is ranked second in the conference with 1.08 blocks per set this season, after registering a career-high 10 blocks against Radford. She joins Loren Thomas (2), Chelaine McCarty (2), Jade Craycraft (1) and Erin McKeown (1) as the only Lady Flames with at least one 10-block match since the start of the 2001 season.
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 four matches since returning full-time to the court, Douglas has recorded double-digit kills each time out, and is averaging 2.94 kills per set. She scored a season-high 14 kills versus Radford on Friday, leading four Lady Flames in double figures.
Liberty vs. High Point
High Point (12-13, 6-4 Big South) has alternated wins and losses over its last five matches, most recently downing Gardner-Webb, 3-1, on Saturday. During Big South play, the Panthers lead the Big South in both kills per set (13.12) and opponents' hitting percentage (.151). Chelsea Davis paces the conference with 4.25 kills per set overall, while Kristin Heldt ranks fifth, at 3.17 kills per set. Annemarie Chin is tied for third in the league, with 5.50 digs per set, and Katie Vincent is fourth in blocks per set, at 1.07.
Jason Oliver, in his fifth season at High Point, has a 81-75 career record. He led the Panthers to the 2010 Big South championship, and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Liberty leads High Point, 28-8, in the all-time series, including 12-8 under Pinder and 6-4 when Pinder's Lady Flames meet Oliver's Panthers. High Point's last win over Liberty at the Vines Center came on Oct. 14, 2008, a 3-2 Panthers win.
High Point swept the Lady Flames, 3-0, on Oct. 12, 2013 in High Point, in the teams' last meeting. The Panthers outhit Liberty, .315-.175, with Kristin Heldt totaling 15 kills and 10 digs to lead the way. Liberty's Lillie Happel recorded a team-high 10 kills and 10 digs.
Liberty vs. Campbell
Campbell (13-14, 3-7 Big South) was 2-0 in Big South play after its first two conference matches, but has gone 1-7 over the last eight Big South contests. The Camels lead the Big South in digs (17.42 per set), while ranking second in aces per set (1.54). Mary Crema averages 5.50 digs per set, tying for third in the conference. Four Camels average 2.0 kills per set or more, led by Jessica Groen at 2.62. Heather Wilson paces Campbell in both assists per set (8.86) and aces per set (0.34).
First-year head coach Greg Goral has a 13-14 lifetime record in his first year at Campbell, after serving the last five seasons as an assistant at OVC power Morehead State.
The Lady Flames hold a 13-3 all-time record against Campbell, including 8-1 as Big South opponents. Liberty has won each of the last eight meetings between the two teams. Campbell's last win over Liberty came Oct. 7, 1997 in Buies Creek, N.C.
Liberty posted a 3-1 win at Campbell, Oct. 11, 2013 in Buies Creek, with the Lady Flames outhitting the Camels, .266-.128 and recording a season-high seven aces. Lillie Happel and Nzea McQuitery tied for the team lead with 11 kills, while Allie Reynolds recorded a career-high 22 digs. Campbell's Alexis Hein totaled a match-high 12 kills.
Liberty's Record at Home
Liberty is 5-1 at home this season, winning its last four home matches in a row. The Lady Flames are 23-2 in their last 25 home matches, and 45-5 (.900) in their last 50 home contests. Liberty is 76-24 (.760) at home under 10th-year head coach Shane Pinder.
The Lady Flames have gone 25-2 (.926) in conference home matches during the careers of their four current seniors (Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel, Becca Haraf, Kendle Rollins). Overall under Pinder, Liberty is 58-12 (.829) in Big South home matches, including 51-5 (.911) since the start of the 2006 season.
Expect plenty of scoreboard watching this weekend in the Big South. With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Big South standings remain tightly packed. A total of two matches separate conference leader Coastal Carolina (8-3) and Presbyterian College (6-5), which is in seventh place. Radford is in second, at 7-3, while Liberty, Gardner-Webb, High Point and UNC Asheville are tied for third place, at 6-4.