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Lady Flames to Compete at Campbell, High Point, on Weekend
On the heels of a resounding 3-0 sweep of UNC Asheville on Saturday at home, Liberty returns to the road this week for a pair of Big South matches. The Lady Flames (2-14, 1-2 Big South) travel to face Campbell (11-8, 2-1) on Friday at 7 p.m., before meeting High Point (8-10, 2-1) at 2 p.m., Saturday at the Millis Center.
Liberty senior setter Jade Craycraft was named Big South Player of the Week on Monday, after recording three straight double-doubles, including back-to-back triple-doubles, last week. It marked her second career Player of the Week honor.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames went 1-2 last week, falling 3-1 at William & Mary on Tuesday, before sustaining a 3-2 setback to Gardner-Webb at home, Friday. Liberty then snapped an 11-match winless streak with a 3-0 sweep of UNC Asheville on Saturday.
Liberty has picked up its defense in conference play, holding Big South opponents to a .158 hitting percentage while averaging 18.45 digs per set and 2.73 blocks per set in three league matches so far.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will be available for both of Liberty's matches this week, through links on LibertyFlames.com. Live stats will appear courtesy of the respective athletics communications offices of Campbell and High Point. Each of this weekend's matches will be available through free live video streaming via the Big South Network.
Craycraft Named Big South Player of the Week
Senior setter Jade Craycraft was named the Big South Volleyball Player of the Week, Monday, after recording three double-doubles, and back-to-back triple-doubles, last week.
Craycraft became the first Lady Flame since Kallie Corbin in 2006 to post consecutive triple-doubles. She is also the only Big South player to record a triple-double this season.
Craycraft registered her second career triple-double on Tuesday at William & Mary, totaling 10 kills, 38 assists, 12 digs and three blocks. She followed up with 10 kills (.429), 38 assists, a career-high 19 digs and three blocks on Friday against Gardner-Webb. On Saturday, she totaled 24 assists, 14 digs and four blocks in a win over UNC Asheville.
12th for #12
Lillie Happel, whose jersey number is 12, is currently ranked 12th in program history with 1,092 career kills, after passing Jessica Nelson (2004-08) on Saturday. Happel's former teammate, Karyl Bacon (2007-10) is ranked 11th all-time at Liberty with 1,155 career kills, while current Liberty assistant coach Rebecca Rudnick is 10th, with 1,164 kills. Jennifer (Belk) Vaden, Liberty assistant coach, sits in third with 1,789 career kills.
On Friday against Gardner-Webb, 15 appeared to be the magic number. It was Liberty's 15th match of the season, and just its first five-set match of 2013.
Lillie Happel and Kendle Rollins both scored 16 kills, the first time two Lady Flames recorded 15+ kills in the same match this season.
Also on Friday, the Lady Flames set a season high with 93 digs. Jade Craycraft led with 19 digs, while Allie Reynolds and Gabrielle Shipe had 18 digs apiece and Becca Haraf collected 17 digs. It marked the first time in 2013 where four Lady Flames totaled at least 15 digs.
Tightening Up on Defense
Following Liberty's setback at West Virginia, Sept. 20, the Lady Flames averaged 12.41 digs per set for the season, with opponents hitting .293 against the Lady Flames.
A shift in the Lady Flames' defense ensued, including the insertion of sophomore Allie Reynolds at libero. During their last five matches, the Lady Flames have averaged 18.37 digs per set, and an opponents' hitting percentage of .198. Five Liberty players (Reynolds, Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel, Gabrielle Shipe and Becca Haraf) average 3.0 digs per set during that span, led by Reynolds' 4.21.
Liberty recorded 10 blocks on Friday against Gardner-Webb, and then shut down UNC Asheville with 12 blocks, Saturday, holding Asheville to a .017 attack percentage.
Freshman Nzea McQuitery recorded a career-high seven blocks on Saturday, tying Kendle Rollins for the most blocks by a Lady Flame in a match this season.
Rollins currently leads the Big South with 1.10 blocks per set this season, and is ranked fifth in program history with 367 career blocks. Jade Craycraft, with 263 career blocks, holds Liberty' record for most blocks by a primary setter.
Jade Craycraft has recorded double-doubles in each of Liberty's last four matches, the longest streak of consecutive double-doubles by a Lady Flame since Lillie Happel registered four straight double-doubles, from Sept. 20 through Oct. 1, 2011.
Craycraft has totaled six double-doubles this season, and has a team-best 30 to her credit, while Happel has recorded 29 career double-doubles, including three in 2013.
Climbing the Charts
A pair of Lady Flames is closing in on the 1,000-career dig milestone. Gabrielle Shipe has collected 936 career digs, while Lillie Happel has posted 884 digs. Shipe is on pace to become the 19th player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs.
Happel has already reached 1,000 career kills, and needs 116 more digs to become the 12th member of Liberty's 1,000/1,000 club. The last Lady Flame to reach 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs was Karyl Bacon (2007-10), who finished with 1,115 kills and 1,472 digs.
Liberty vs. Campbell
Campbell (11-8, 2-1 Big South) opens its conference home schedule on Friday. The Camels are 5-0 at the Pope Center so far this season, and are 6-1 in five-set matches. Campbell leads the Big South with 17.4 digs per set. Jessica Groen leads the Camels with 2.77 kills per set, while Lindsey Coats (2.28 kills per set) hits .293. Mary Crema ranks fourth in the Big South in digs per set (5.3) and is third with 0.38 aces per set. Heather Wilson paces Campbell with 9.08 assists per set.
First-year head coach Greg Goral has an 11-8 lifetime record at Campbell, after serving the last five seasons as an assistant at OVC power Morehead State.
The Lady Flames hold a 12-3 all-time record against Campbell, including 7-1 as Big South opponents. Liberty has won each of the last seven meetings between the two teams. Campbell's last win over Liberty came Oct. 7, 1997 in Buies Creek, N.C.
Liberty posted a pair of 3-0 sweeps against Campbell last season, including a 3-0 victory over the Camels on Nov. 3 which clinched Liberty's sixth Big South regular-season title in a row. After a 25-19 win in set one, Liberty edged the Camels in sets two and three, 30-28 and 26-24.
Liberty vs. High Point
High Point (8-10, 2-1 Big South) has won its last two matches, including a 3-2 win at Coastal Carolina and a 3-1 victory at Charleston Southern. The Panthers rank third in the Big South in opponents' hitting percentage (.188), kills per set (12.40) and digs per set (16.55). Chelsea Davis leads the Big South with 4.38 kills per set, while Annemarie Chin is the Big South leader with 5.74 digs per set. Katie Vincent is second in the conference in blocks per set, at 1.10. Kristin Heldt is second on the team with 2.83 kills per set.
Jason Oliver, in his fifth season at High Point, has a 77-72 career record. He led the Panthers to the 2010 Big South championship, and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Liberty leads High Point, 28-7, in the all-time series, including 12-7 under Pinder and 6-3 when Pinder's Lady Flames meet Oliver's Panthers. Liberty has won each of the last three meetings in the series.
The Lady Flames swept High Point, 3-0, Oct. 6, 2012 at the Vines Center, a match that both teams entered in a first-place tie in the Big South. Liberty then rallied for a 3-2 win at High Point, Nov. 2, behind a career-high 26 kills by Caroline Douglas.