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Lady Flames to Host Liberty Invitational, This Weekend
Liberty plays host to a volleyball tournament for the first time since 2011, hosting the Liberty Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames open the weekend with a 3 p.m. match on Friday against Howard, and will also face Murray State, USC Upstate and UNCG on the weekend at the Vines Center.
Liberty will be busy, playing nine matches over the next nine days. After playing four matches this weekend, the Lady Flames play at Georgetown on Tuesday, before competing in four contests at the Brown Invitational in Providence, R.I., Sept. 12-13.
Liberty Invitational Schedule
Vines Center - Lynchburg, Va.
Friday, Sept. 5
Liberty vs. Howard, 3 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
UNCG vs. USC Upstate, 5:30 p.m. Live Stats
Liberty vs. Murray State, 8 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
Saturday, Sept. 6
USC Upstate vs. Murray State, 9 a.m. Live Stats
Howard vs. UNCG, 11:30 a.m. Live Stats
Liberty vs. USC Upstate, 2 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
Murray State vs. Howard, 4:30 p.m. Live Stats
Liberty vs. UNCG, 7 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will be available for this weekend's matches. Live stats will appear through StatBroadcast, courtesy of Liberty Athletics Communications. All four of Liberty's matches will be video streamed, free of charge, on the Big South Network. Friday's Liberty matches will also appear on the Liberty Channel, with Ray Jones serving as play-by-play announcer and Erin Hagen providing analysis.
Across the Net
The Lady Flames lead the Big South with 14.07 kills per set, and it has been a team effort. Hannah Weidner (3.67 kps), Caroline Douglas (3.20), Nzea McQuitery (2.80) and Jade Vorster (2.27) all average two or more kills per set.
During Tuesday's 3-1 win, four Lady Flames reached double figures in kills, in Weidner (19), McQuitery (13), Douglas (12) and Vorster (11). Those four also all recorded double-digit kills last Saturday against Maryland.
Freshman Hannah Weidner leads the Lady Flames with 3.67 kills per set this season, converting at a .345 pace.
On Tuesday at James Madison, Weidner sent down a match-high 19 kills, becoming the first Liberty freshman in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) to record four straight 10-kill matches to begin her career.
Karyl Bacon was the last Liberty player to open a season with four or more 10-kill matches in a row, beginning the 2010 campaign with 14 straight double-digit kill contests.
Dishing it Out
Junior setter Caila Stapleton is tied for the Big South lead with 10.21 assists per set.
At James Madison, Stapleton recorded her first career double-double, with 26 assists and a career-high 11 digs.
Freshman Anna Willey contributed 21 assists and three blocks at James Madison, in her first collegiate action, playing setter during the third and fourth sets.
Against Maryland, Stapleton set or tied career highs in assists (54), digs (7) and aces (2). Her 54 assists were the most by a Lady Flame since Jade Craycraft had 56 helpers at Charleston Southern on Oct. 12, 2012.
Liberty has hit .285 so far this season, leading the Big South in attack percentage. The Lady Flames have three of the top four most efficient hitters in the conference so far.
Nzea McQuitery, a 2013 Big South All-Freshman team member, hits .446 to lead all Big South players. She hit .800 (9-1-10) against San Jose State to open the season, and then hit .480 with a career-high 15 kills versus Maryland.
Junior Jade Vorster, a two-time All-Big West selection while at Hawai'i, ranks third in the conference at .380. She sent down 11 kills at a .647 pace against Maryland.
Freshman Hannah Weidner hits .345, good for fourth in the Big South.
Senior libero Gabrielle Shipe paces Liberty with 3.80 digs per set, and she is quickly climbing Liberty's career digs leader board.
Shipe currently ranks 14th in program history with 1,223 career digs. She needs two more digs to pass Nicole Nice (1989-92, 1,224 digs) and 52 more to enter 10th place, passing Nice, Kyrie Dorn (1996-99, 1,235), Kallie Corbin (2006-09, 1,241) and Theresa Passamani (2000-03, 1,274).
Junior Allie Reynolds collected a team-high 12 digs during the season opener against San Jose State. Classmate Haley Jeffcoat then totaled a career-high 11 digs versus Maryland. On Tuesday at JMU, junior Caila Stapleton recorded a career-best 11 digs.
With four starters from the 2013 roster graduating, the Lady Flames brought in eight newcomers, including six freshmen and two transfers. Junior Jade Vorster, a two-time All-Big West player at Hawai'i, and AAU All-American Hannah Weidner headline the class.
Vorster, freshman Hannah Weidner and junior transfer Maribeth Kern (King (Tenn.)) all appeared in Liberty's starting lineup for the season opener. Weidner and Vorster were both named to the Elon Phoenix Classic All-Tournament team.
Liberty vs. Howard
All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Howard 0 (Sept. 5, 2009 - Liberty Invitational, Lynchburg, Va.)
First Meeting: Liberty 3, Howard 0 (Aug. 24, 2007 - Liberty Invitational, Lynchburg, Va.)
Howard Head Coach (Yrs./record at school): Shaun Kupferberg (3rd yr./24-36)
Howard 2013 Record: 21-11; 8-4 MEAC
Howard 2014 Record: 2-2
Liberty vs. Murray State
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Murray State Head Coach (Yrs./record at school): David Schwepker (17th yr./213-243)
Murray State 2013 Record: 16-14; 6-10 Ohio Valley Conference
Murray State 2014 Record: 3-0
Liberty vs. USC Upstate
All-Time Series: First Meeting
USC Upstate Head Coach (Yrs./record at school): Jennifer Calloway (19th yr./302-278)
USC Upstate 2013 Record: 5-23; 4-14 Atlantic Sun Conference
USC Upstate 2014 Record: 2-2
Liberty vs. UNCG
All-Time Series: UNCG leads, 11-8 Current Series Streak: UNCG W1
Last Meeting: UNCG 3, Liberty 2 (Aug. 24, 2012 - NCCU Tournament, Durham, N.C.)
Last Liberty Victory: Liberty 3, UNCG 0 (Aug. 28, 2009 - Blacksburg, Va.)
UNCG Head Coach (Yrs./record at school): Corey Carlin (1st yr.)
UNCG 2013 Record: 17-13, 10-6 Southern Conference
UNCG 2014 Record: 2-1
The Lady Flames are 22-3 (.880) in their last 25 home matches, and 44-6 (.880) in their last 50 home contests. Liberty is 77-25 (.755) at home under 11th-year head coach Shane Pinder. This year's senior class has gone 25-3 (.892) at the Vines Center.
Liberty is 8-2 in home openers under Pinder, and 18-7 in the initial home match of the season since 1989. Last year, the Lady Flames won their home opener for the fifth year in a row, downing Georgetown, 3-1, on Sept. 3.
Liberty Invitational History
This weekend's tournament will be the 14th time Liberty has hosted an in-season invitational, and the first since 2011. The Lady Flames are 28-13 all-time at home invitationals.
The Lady Flames went 3-0 at the 2011 Liberty Invitational, sweeping Rider, CSU Bakersfield and Saint Francis (Pa.) to win the tournament title. Lillie Happel was named tournament MVP, and Jade Craycraft joined her on the all-tournament team.
Coach Pinder's first collegiate coaching win came in his first home match as head coach at Liberty, a 3-0 win over Davidson Sept. 17, 2004, the opening contest of the 2004 Liberty Invitational.