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Volleyball to Close Out First Half of Schedule in Nashville

September 17, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Complete Match Notes

Bruin Classic Tournament Central Page

The Liberty volleyball team completes the first half of its regular-season schedule this weekend, competing in three matches at the Bruin Classic in Nashville, Tenn. The Lady Flames (9-4) open the tournament at 5 p.m. on Friday against Northern Kentucky (7-3). Liberty will then face Wright State (3-8) and tournament host Belmont (3-7) on Saturday. This marks the first time in program history that the Lady Flames will compete in Nashville.

The Lady Flames are 1-1 all-time against Wright State, and will meet Northern Kentucky and Belmont for the first time ever.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all matches this weekend, courtesy of Belmont athletic media relations. Liberty's match against Belmont on Saturday will be available for online viewing through a live video stream, via the Ohio Valley Conference Network.

Starting Rotation
1. Liberty went 4-1 last week, including a tournament title at the Brown Invitational. Caroline Douglas and Gabrielle Shipe were named to the All-Tournament team. The Lady Flames have won three matches in a row, and five out of their last six matches.
2.  Freshman Hannah Weidner was named Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday, for the second week in a row. She has posted seven straight 10-kill matches. Weidner ranks fifth in the Big South with 3.40 digs per set and fifth with a .293 hitting percentage.
3. Senior Gabrielle Shipe was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, her fourth career weekly honor. She paces Liberty with 4.32 digs per set this season, and is currently eighth in program history with 1,382 career digs.
4. Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas hit .600 with a career-high 29 kills last Friday against Central Connecticut. Her 29 kills were the second most in Liberty's rally-scoring history (since 2001) and most since Rachel Harnack's 40 kills at Coastal Carolina, Nov. 10, 2001.
5. Junior Caila Stapleton is ranked second in the Big South with 10.24 assists per set. She dished out a career-high 63 assists against CCSU, the most by a Lady Flame since Courtney Boggs had 64 assists at UNC Asheville, Nov. 7, 2008.
6. Liberty averaged 1.65 aces per set last week, as the Lady Flames recorded a season-high eight aces against CCSU and UMass Lowell.
7.  Junior Jade Vorster averaged 1.20 blocks per set last week, including a career-high nine blocks at Georgetown on Tuesday.

Weidner Named Big South Freshman of Week
Freshman Hannah Weidner was named the Big South Volleyball Freshman of the Week on Monday, her second Freshman of the Week in a row. She averaged 3.00 kills per set while hitting .271 during Liberty's 4-1 week last week.

Weidner has posted seven straight 10-kill matches, and reached double figures in kills in 12 out of the Lady Flames' first 13 matches.

Weidner ranks fifth in the Big South with 3.40 kills per set and is fifth with a .293 hitting percentage.

Shipe Named Big South Defensive Player of the Week
Senior Gabrielle Shipe was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week, Monday. It is her fourth career Defensive Player of the Week honor and first since Nov. 12, 2012.

Shipe averaged 4.50 digs per set and 0.45 aces per set last week. She was named to the Brown Invitational All-Tournament team, averaging 4.62 digs per set while at Brown.

She ranks seventh in the Big South with 4.32 digs per set. Shipe has also vaulted up Liberty's all-time digs list, reaching eighth overall over 1,382 career digs.

Big Match
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas scored a career-high 29 kills last Friday against Central Connecticut. Her 29 kills were the most by a Lady Flame since Rachel Harnack recorded a program rally-scoring-record 40 kills at Coastal Carolina, Nov. 10, 2001.

The Lady Flames recorded 77 kills versus Central Connecticut, the most by Liberty in a single match under the current, 25-point rally-scoring format that was adopted in 2008.

For the season, Douglas is ranked third in the Big South with 3.78 kills per set and fourth in the conference with a .301 hitting percentage.

Dishing it Out
Junior Caila Stapleton is ranked second in the Big South with 10.24 assists per set. She dished out a career-high 63 assists against Central Connecticut. Her 63 assists were the most by a Lady Flame since Courtney Boggs had 64 at UNC Asheville, Nov. 7, 2008.

Stapleton then recorded her third career double-double on Saturday against Fairfield, with 35 assists and 16 digs. She set a new career high with 18 digs at Georgetown.

Freshman Anna Willey had a career match at Brown, with 33 assists, nine digs and six blocks.

Dig In
The Lady Flames rank fourth in the Big South with 15.24 digs per set. It has been a total team effort, led by Gabrielle Shipe (4.28 digs per set). Five Lady Flames (Shipe, Haley Jeffcoat - 2.50, Maribeth Kern - 2.37, Caila Stapleton - 2.33, Rachel Smoltz - 2.13) average 2.0 digs per set or more this season.

A total of eight Lady Flames (Shipe, Jeffcoat, Kern, Stapleton, Smoltz, Allie Reynolds, Kate Corson and Caroline Douglas) have posted at least one 10-dig match this season.

Own the Net
On Tuesday at Georgetown, Liberty posted a season-high 13.5 blocks. Junior Jade Vorster led all players with a season-best nine blocks, while Hannah Weidner and Caroline Douglas both recorded season highs with five blocks apiece.

The Lady Flames then outblocked Brown, 13-0, on Friday. Vorster led all players with seven blocks, while Nzea McQuitery and Anna Willey posted six blocks each.
Vorster, who was a two-time All-Big West selection at Hawai'i, is tied for third in the Big South with 1.10 blocks per set.

Double-Double (x2)
Twice this year, Liberty has had two players post double-doubles in the same match.

Last Tuesday at Georgetown, Caila Stapleton totaled 41 assists and 18 digs, while Gabrielle Shipe recorded her first career double-double with 10 assists and 16 digs.

Against Fairfield, last Saturday, Stapleton registered 35 assists and 16 digs, while Caroline Douglas contributed 13 kills and 17 digs.

Liberty vs. Northern Kentucky
All-Time Series:
First Meeting

Northern Kentucky (7-3) opened its season with a 3-1 win over defending Big South champion Radford. The Norse edged Evansville, 3-2, on Tuesday.

Jenna Ruble, a 2013 all-conference second-team selection, averages 2.65 kills per set, while hitting .320. Jayden Julian paces the Norse with 3.00 kills per set. Mel Stewart averages a team-best 4.46 digs per set, while Taylor Snyder leads NKU with 9.89 assists per set.

Liberty vs. Wright State
All-Time Series:
Series tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Wright State 2 (Sept. 8, 2007 - Wright State Raider Challenge)
Last Wright State Win: Wright State 3, Liberty 0 (Sept. 8, 1995 - N.C. State Tournament)

After opening the season with a 2-1 record, Wright State dropped seven in a row, before winning its last match, 3-0, over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.

Katie Klusman leads a balanced offensive attack, averaging 2.70 kills per set. Jessie Thornton ranks 12th in the nation with 5.38 digs per set this so far this season. Marisa Aiello was named to the All-Tournament team at the Chattanooga Classic. Maddie Lohmeier paces the Raiders with 8.85 assists per set.

Liberty vs. Belmont
All-Time Series:
First Meeting

Belmont (3-7) holds victories over Evansville, Chattanooga and Virginia Tech so far in 2014. The Bruins finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference last season with a 12-4 conference mark.

Alex Martin, a member of the OVC Preseason All-Conference team, paces Belmont with 0.94 blocks per set. Arianna Person averages a team-best 2.63 kills and 0.37 aces per set. Scarlet Gable follows with 2.62 kills per set.