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Lady Flames Picked to Finish Second in Big South; Corbin Voted to Preseason All-Conference Team
Winthrop, which has captured five straight Big South titles and has won its last 54 matches against conference opponents, was voted first in the preseason poll, garnering seven out of 14 first-place votes and tallying 90 points. The Lady Flames garnered four first-place votes and 76 total points, edging 2006 Big South runner-up UNC Asheville, which received the remaining trio of first-place votes, by a single point. Coastal Carolina (fourth place, 54 points), High Point (fifth, 45), Radford (sixth, 32) and Charleston Southern (seventh, 20) rounded out the voting.
Head coach Shane Pinder's Lady Flames return four starters plus the libero from last year's team, which went 11-18 overall and 9-5 in Big South Conference action. Liberty placed third in the final Big South standings a year ago, its highest conference finish since 2003. In addition to Corbin (Westview, Ore.), a pair of seniors—Lara Bartolomeo (L/DS, Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Mary Alice Pike (RS, Durham, N.C.)—highlight the squad's returnees.
Winthrop junior middle blocker Shannon Sitzmann heads the preseason all-conference team, as she notched 13-of-14 first-place votes and was named Big South Preseason Player of the Year. The remainder of the squad consists of Corbin, High Point senior outside hitter Jamie Kaufman, Coastal Carolina sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker Jill Nyhof, Radford junior outside hitter Lindsey Poole, UNC Asheville sophomore middle blocker Lauren Ficker and UNC Asheville sophomore libero Raquel Miotto.
Corbin is the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year and became the first Lady Flame ever to be voted VaSID Rookie of the Year. She was additionally a second-team All-Big South pick, a second-team VaSID All-State performer and made the Big South All-Freshman team roster. Corbin, the Big South leader with 52 service aces, tied for fourth in the nation with four triple-doubles as a freshman.
Liberty will open its season at home with the Liberty Invitational Presented by Pepsi, scheduled for Aug. 24-25. The Lady Flames will host Howard in their season opener, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Liberty is also scheduled to host the Big South Volleyball Championship at the Vines Center for the first time since 2001, the year the Lady Flames claimed their most recent conference title. The tournament will be held on Nov. 15-17.
2007 Big South Preseason Poll (First-place votes) – Points
1) Winthrop (7) – 90 points
2) Liberty (4) – 76
3) UNC Asheville (3) – 75
4) Coastal Carolina – 54
5) High Point – 45
6) Radford – 32
7) Charleston Southern – 20
2007 Big South Preseason All-Conference Team
Shannon Sitzmann, Jr., MB, Winthrop (Preseason Player of the Year)
Kallie Corbin, So., S, Liberty
Jamie Kaufman, Sr., OH, High Point
Jill Nyhof, So., OH/MB, Coastal Carolina
Lindsey Poole, Jr., OH, Radford
Lauren Ficker, So., MB, UNC Asheville
Raquel Miotto, So., L, UNC Asheville (Back-row specialist)