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Volleyball Opens Busy Week With Match at Georgetown, Tuesday

September 8, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Complete Match Notes

The Liberty volleyball team opens a busy week, travelling to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. match at Georgetown. The Lady Flames (5-3) went 3-2 this past week, including 2-2 at the Liberty Invitational, while Georgetown holds a 4-2 record on the season. Following Tuesday's match, Liberty will next compete in the Brown Invitational on Friday and Saturday. In total, each of the Lady Flames' next eight matches is on the road.

Liberty holds a 3-2 record all-time against Georgetown, winning each of the last three meetings. The Lady Flames won, 3-1, at Georgetown in 2012, before opening their home schedule with a 3-1 victory over the Hoyas last season.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will be available for Tuesday's match. Live stats will appear courtesy of Georgetown sports information. The match will also be availble through a live video stream, for a small charge, on the GU Hoyas Video page.

Starting Rotation
1. Liberty (5-3) went 3-2 last week, beginning it with a 3-1 win at James Madison and ending it with a 3-2, come-from-behind win over UNCG to complete a 2-2 showing at the Liberty Invitational. The Lady Flames play five more matches this week.

2.  Freshman Hannah Weidner was named Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday. She posted her second career 19-kill match, hitting .486 against USC Upstate. The team's leading attacker so far, Weidner ranks fifth in the Big South with 3.67 kills per set.

3. Senior Gabrielle Shipe vaulted from 14th into 10th place on Liberty's career digs list over the weekend, currently ranking 10th with 1,292 career digs. She collected a season-high 29 digs against UNG, Saturday.

4. Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas was named to the Liberty Invitational All-Tournament team. She closed out the week with a 21-kill match versus UNCG, the most kills by a Lady Flame since Douglas had 26 kills at High Point, Nov. 2, 2012

5. Junior Jade Vorster, in her first year since transferring from Hawai'i, paces Liberty and ranks fourth in the Big South with 1.03 blocks per set. She posted six blocks each against Howard and UNCG.

6. Junior Caila Stapleton, in her first year as Liberty's starting setter, is ranked second in the Big South with 10.08 assists per set. She posted her first career double-double, with 26 assists and 11 digs at James Madison.

Weidner Named Big South Freshman of Week
Freshman Hannah Weidner was named the Big South Volleyball Freshman of the Week on Monday, averaging 3.89 kills and 0.79 blocks per during Liberty's 3-2 week.

Weidner leads the Lady Flames with 3.67 kills per set this season, converting at a .307 pace. She ranks fifth in the conference in both kills and attack percentage.

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. She added three more double-digit kills matches, including a 19-kill contest against USC Upstate, Saturday.

Big Match
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas sent down a season-high 21 kills on Saturday against UNCG, the most kills by a Lady Flame since Douglas recorded a career-high 26 kills at High Point, Nov. 2, 2012. It also marked Douglas' third career 20-kill match.

Also against UNCG, junior Jade Vorster tied her season highs with 11 kills and six blocks, while Hannah Weidner recorded 16 kills and five blocks.

Gabrielle Shipe collected a season-high 29 digs, the most digs by a Lady Flame since Shipe recorded 31 digs on Nov. 8, 2013 versus High Point. Additionally, junior Haley Jeffcoat registered 14 digs, and juniors Maribeth Kern and Rachel Smoltz both totaled a career-high 10 digs.

Dishing it Out
Junior setter Caila Stapleton is second in the Big South 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 a career-high 27 assists and two aces versus USC Upstate, Saturday.

Against Maryland on Aug. 29, 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.

Own the Net
The Lady Flames have traditionally been a strong blocking team, leading the Big South in blocks per set during three out of the last four seasons.

This year, they average 1.78 blocks per set. Liberty posted a season-high 10.5 team blocks during a 3-2 victory over UNCG on Saturday, holding the Spartans to a .164 attack percentage. During that match, junior Jade Vorster tied her season high with six blocks, while freshman Hannah Weidner totaled five blocks.

Vorster, a transfer from Hawai'i, is ranked fourth in the Big South with 1.03 blocks per set.

Digging In
Senior libero Gabrielle Shipe paces Liberty with 3.80 digs per set and is quickly climbing Liberty's career digs leader board.

Shipe currently ranks 10th in program history with 1,292 career digs. She needs 21 more digs to pass both Athena Sherwood (1996-99, 1,306 digs) and Anthonia Akpama (1996-99, 1,312 digs) into eighth all-time at Liberty.

Junior Haley Jeffcoat collected a career-high 16 digs against Murray State and Allie Reynolds totaled a season-high 12 digs in the season opener. Junior Caila Stapleton had a career-high 11 digs at James Madison, while classmates Maribeth Kern and Rachel Smoltz both posted their first career 10-dig match, Saturday vs. UNCG.

Spread the Wealth
The Lady Flames feature a balanced scoring attack. Liberty currently has four players who average two or more kills per set in Hannah Weidner (3.67 kps), Caroline Douglas (3.37), Nzea McQuitery (2.28) and Jade Vorster (2.23).

Twice this season, against Maryland and at James Madison, Weidner, Douglas, McQuitery and Vorster all recorded 10 or more kills.

Liberty vs. Georgetown
Georgetown is off to a 4-2 start to the 2014 season, going 2-1 at both the D.C. Challenge and Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Invitational. They have won their last two matches, sweeping Colgate and Penn. The Hoyas were voted eighth in the BIG EAST preseason coaches' poll, after going 10-19, including 4-12 in conference play, a year ago.

Senior middle blocker Dani White, a 2013 BIG EAST second-team selection, hits .317 while pacing the team with 1.16 blocks per set. Georgetown is ranked first in the conference in digs, with MacKenzie Simpson leading the BIG EAST with 5.26 digs per set.  Lauren Saar averages 3.58 kills per set and Terese Cannon averages 3.28 kills per set. Setter Caitlin Brauneis dishes out 9.58 assists per set.

Series History
Liberty leads the all-time series against Georgetown, 3-2, with the Hoyas sweeping the first two meetings in 1989 and 1990. Liberty has won the last three meetings, downing Georgetown in four sets on Nov. 23, 2007, Sept. 18, 2012 and Sept. 3, 2013.

Liberty is 3-0 against Georgetown under 11th-year head coach Shane Pinder, while current Georgetown head coach Arlisa Williams has gone 0-3 in head-to-head matchups against Pinder's Lady Flames.

Last Meeting
Liberty won its home opener, 3-1, over Georgetown on Sept. 3, 2013, posting 13.5 team blocks. The win was the 700th in program history and 175th career coaching victory for Shane Pinder. It also extended Liberty's home winning streak to 15 matches.

Liberty's Lillie Happel (17 kills, 10 digs) and Jade Craycraft (10 kills, 42 assists) each posted double-doubles, while Gabrielle Shipe collected 23 digs and Susan Babcock set a career high with 11 kills. Alex Johnson recorded 16 kills and 12 digs, while Lauren Saar added 11 kills and 17 digs.