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Lady Flames to Host Presbyterian, Winthrop in Conference Action

October 22, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Complete Match Notes

The Liberty volleyball team (20-5) won its 11th match in a row last Saturday at Coastal Carolina to close the first half of Big South play with a perfect 7-0 conference record. The conference-leading Lady Flames host Presbyterian (9-10, 4-3 Big South) on Friday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Winthrop (15-8, 5-2) to the Vines Center, Saturday at 1 p.m.

Liberty leads Presbyterian, 11-1, all-time, winning eight straight meetings. The Lady Flames are 27-18 against Winthrop, although the Eagles claimed last year's matchup.

How to Follow the Lady Flames     
Live stats will be available for each of this weekend's matches. Additionally, Friday's contest will be available for viewing on the Liberty Channel and online through the Big South Network and ESPN3.com. Ray Jones will serve as play-by-play announcer, while Erin Hagen will provide analysis.

Starting Rotation
1.   Liberty went 3-0 last week, culminating in a 3-1 victory at second-place Coastal Carolina on Saturday. With the win, the Lady Flames remained perfect in conference play, while also becoming the second NCAA Division I volleyball team to reach 20 wins this season.

2.   The Lady Flames' current 11-match winning streak is their longest since posting a program-record 16-match winning streak in 2007.

3.   11th year head coach Shane Pinder became Liberty's all-time leader in career victories with his 199th win on Oct. 3 at Gardner-Webb. With a 205-144 career record, he is ranked fourth all-time in coaching wins among Big South volleyball coaches.

4.   Senior libero Gabrielle Shipe was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, on Monday. She is now ranked fourth all-time at Liberty with an even 1,600 career digs.

5.   Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas sent down 22 kills on Saturday at Coastal Carolina, becoming the 15th player in program history to record 1,000 career kills.

6.   Freshman right-side attacker Hannah Weidner scored a career-high 20 kills at Coastal Carolina, joining Caroline Douglas as the first Liberty teammates since Nov. 12, 2011 at UNC Asheville (Lillie Happel, Loren Thomas) to both reach 20 kills in the same match.

7.   Junior setter Caila Stapleton paces all conference players with 11.03 assists per set. She has recorded 11 straight 40-assist matches. The program rally-scoring record for most consecutive 40-assist matches is 13, set by Kristin Colson in 2004.

Shipe Named Big South Defensive Player of the Week
Senior Gabrielle Shipe was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and fourth in her career, on Monday. She collected 4.36 digs per set last week, helping the Lady Flames average 20.55 digs per set as a team.

On the weekend, she passed both Lara Bartolomeo (2004-07) and Jennifer Belk (2001-04) into fourth place all-time at Liberty with 1,600 career digs.

1,000 Kill Club
Redshirt junior Caroline Douglas became the 15th member of Liberty's 1,000-kill club on Saturday. She has recorded 1,007 career kills in 263 sets played, good for a career average of 3.83 kills per set.

Douglas' former teammate Lillie Happel (2010-13) is ranked 10th in program history with 1,226 career kills, while current Liberty assistant coach Rebecca Rudnick (2001-04) is 11th on the all-time list with 1,164 career kills.

20-20 Vision
On Saturday, Caroline Douglas recorded 22 kills and Hannah Weidner sent down a career-high 20 kills. It was the first time since Nov. 12, 2011 at UNC Asheville that two Lady Flames recorded 20 kills in the same match. That night, Lillie Happel had 21 kills and Loren Thomas scored 20 kills.

Douglas has registered 10 20-kill matches this season, including eight times in the last 10 matches. Jennifer Belk holds the program rally-scoring record for most 20-kill matches in a single season, with 11 20-kill contests during the 2004 season.

Impact Freshman
Right-side attacker Hannah Weidner is a three-time recipient of Big South Freshman of the Week honors. She scored a career-high 20 kills on Saturday at Coastal Carolina.

Weidner is ranked fifth in the Big South with 3.44 kills per set. She has reached double figures in kills in 19 straight matches, tying Jennifer Belk's (2004) program rally-scoring record for consecutive double-digit kill matches. Weidner has recorded 10 or more kills in 24 out of her first 25 collegiate matches.

Teammate Caroline Douglas has posted 18 straight 10-kill matches.

Dishing it Out
Junior Caila Stapleton leads the Big South with 11.03 assists per set. In conference play, she is averaging 12.37 assists per set, the highest average in the Big South.    
She needs 29 more assists to become the sixth Liberty setter since 2001 with 1,000 assists in a single season.

Stapleton has totaled 40 or more assists during each of Liberty's last 11 contests, all wins. It marks Liberty's longest streak of 40-assist matches since Kristin Colson's program rally-scoring record streak of 13 40-assist contests, from Oct. 12-Nov. 20, 2004.

Blocking the Way
Junior middle blocker Jade Vorster is ranked second in the Big South in blocks per set, both overall (1.21) and in conference play (1.26).

On Oct. 10 against Campbell, she posted her fourth nine-block match, tying Loren Thomas (2011) for the most nine-block contests by a Lady Flame since 2001. Her 117 blocks rank sixth in program history for a single season during the rally-scoring era.

Double-Doubles All Around
Caroline Douglas has recorded five straight double-doubles, while Caila Stapleton has registered four consecutive double-doubles. The last Lady Flame with five straight double-doubles was Jade Craycraft, who did so from Sept. 21 through Oct. 5, 2013.

Stapleton leads the Lady Flames with 11 double-doubles, followed by Douglas, with 10. The last time two Liberty players posted 10+ double-doubles in the same season was 2009, when Karyl Bacon had 13 double-doubles and Nicki Scripko had 12.

Gabrielle Shipe has posted two double-doubles, and freshman Anna Willey has recorded one double-double. The last time four Lady Flames had at least one double-double in the same year was 2011 (Courtney Boggs, Craycraft, Lillie Happel and Loren Thomas).

Liberty vs. Presbyterian College
Presbyterian College (9-10, 4-3, 5th place Big South) picked up home wins over both Campbell and High Point last week. Reigning Big South Player of the Week Rachel Hall scored her 1,000th career kill against Campbell, and she ranks third in the Big South with 3.60 kills per set. Mary Trimpe leads the Big South with 4.92 digs per set, and is fourth on the Big South all-time digs list with 2,083 career digs. Kelly Berryman averages 1.10 blocks per set, ranking fourth in the conference.

Second-year head coach Korrinn Burgess has gone 18-32 at Presbyterian, after coaching Spartanburg Methodist to a 17-14 record in 2012.

Liberty holds a 11-1 record in the all-time series against Presbyterian College, and the Lady Flames have won each of the last eight meetings. The Blue Hose posted their only win over Liberty on Nov. 8, 2008 in Clinton, S.C., a 3-2 victory.

Last season, Liberty posted a 3-1 win over then-first-place Presbyterian on Oct. 25, 2013 in Clinton, S.C. During the match, Liberty's Gabrielle Shipe became the 19th player in program history to collect 1,000 career digs.

Liberty vs. Winthrop
Winthrop (15-8, 5-2, t-2nd Big South) has gone 11-2 in its last 13 matches. The Eagles excel on defense, leading the Big South with 2.43 blocks per set while holding opponents to a .163 attack percentage. Two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Week Rachel Lenz leads the conference with 1.35 blocks per set, while ranking fourth in hitting percentage (.304). Alina Sopizhuk is ranked seventh in the conference with 3.18 kills per set. Emma Weakland averages 2.73 kills per set.     

Second-year head coach Bruce Atkinson is 32-21 while at Winthrop, and 165-63 in eight years as a collegiate coach, which includes three-year stints at Hawaii Hilo (69-14; 2007-09) and Towson (64-28; 2010-12).

Liberty is 27-18 all-time against Winthrop. Starting in the 2001 season, Liberty (2001, 07-08, 11-12) and Winthrop (2002-06) have combined to win 10 out of the last 13 Big South Volleyball Championships, with each program claiming five titles during that span.

Winthrop rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Lady Flames, 3-2, on Oct. 26, 2013 in Rock Hill, S.C. Winthrop's Irene Ojukwu recorded a match-high 18 kills, while Lillie Happel led Liberty with 16 kills.