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Lady Flames Sweep VaSID All-State Volleyball Major Awards
Liberty swept the major Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division Volleyball All-State honors, as announced today.
Redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas was named VaSID Volleyball Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, while head coach Shane Pinder was named VaSID State Coach of the Year for the second year in a row and a record fourth time in his career.
Senior middle blocker Loren Thomas and junior setter Jade Craycraft joined Douglas on the first team.
Liberty is the first team since Virginia in 2004 to sweep VaSID's major volleyball awards in the same season. This marks the sixth season in a row that the Lady Flames have had three players voted to the All-State volleyball team, and first time that three Liberty players were named to the first team.
Douglas, the 2012 Big South Volleyball Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, also received AVCA All-Region honorable mention this season. She led the Big South with 3.69 kills per set. She recorded 26 kills at High Point, tying for the most by a Big South player this season. Douglas ended the season by registering a match-high 12 kills during Liberty's NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship first round match at No. 8 seed Minnesota.
Pinder, the 2012 Big South Volleyball Coach of the Year, wins VaSID State Coach of the Year for the fourth time. He was previously named VaSID State Coach of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He has led the Lady Flames to six straight 20-win seasons, six Big South regular-season titles in a row and six straight appearances in the conference final match.
Craycraft, 2012 Big South Tournament MVP and three-time all-conference player, receives her second VaSID award after being named to the second team in 2010. This season, she led the Big South in hitting percentage both overall (.343) and in conference play (.346). A setter, she distributed for the Big South's most efficient offense, as Liberty hit .251 as a team to set a new program record.
Thomas finished her career as a three-time all-conference selection and holder of Liberty's rally-scoring program records for blocks (single-match, season, career). She receives VaSID All-State first team mention for the second year in a row. Thomas placed second in the Big South in attack percentage this season, helping Liberty lead the Big South in hitting percentage. She also ranked among the league leaders with a team-high 125 blocks.
The Lady Flames posted a 25-8 record, claiming the Big South regular-season title with a 12-2 league record. Liberty then earned its conference-record seventh Big South tournament championship and seventh NCAA postseason appearance. Liberty swept the major awards in both the Big South and VaSID All-State voting. The Lady Flames faced No. 8 Minnesota in the NCAA Volleyball Championship first round, and fell 3-0, although their third set went to 34-32.
Charlotte Armstead, Sr., Norfolk St.
Cara Baarendse, Sr., Virginia Tech
Jade Craycraft, Jr., Liberty
Danielle Erb, Sr., James Madison
Loren Thomas, Sr., MB, Liberty
Caroline Douglas, R-Fr., Liberty
Natalie Abel, Sr., James Madison
Kathryn Caine, So., Virginia Tech
Victoria Hamsher, Jr., Virginia Tech
Dessi Koleva, Fr., William & Mary
Emily Rottman, Jr., Virginia
Vendula Strakova, So., Hampton