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Lady Flames Return Home for Pair of Big South Matches

October 4, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Lady Flames will play their first home Big South matches of the year, this Friday and Saturday.

The Lady Flames will play their first home Big South matches of the year, this Friday and Saturday.

The Liberty volleyball team, which has played only four of its first 17 matches at the Vines Center, will open a season-long four-match homestand Friday evening versus Big South foe Charleston Southern.

Liberty, 10-7 on the season, is currently third in the conference standings at 2-1, one game behind Winthrop. Charleston Southern is fourth at 1-1, while Saturday afternoon's opponent, Coastal Carolina, is second with a 2-0 ledger.

This Week's Schedule
Friday, Oct. 5
Charleston Southern (8-9, 1-1 Big South) at Liberty (10-7, 2-1 Big South) – 7 p.m. – Vines Center

Saturday, Oct. 6
Coastal Carolina (10-8, 2-0 Big South) at Liberty – 2 p.m. – Vines Center

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live streaming video will be available for both weekend matches at the Vines Center. To access live statistical updates for Friday evening's match against Charleston Southern, click here or click "Live Stats" on the volleyball/schedule results page of LibertyFlames.com. Live stats for Saturday's contest with Coastal Carolina are available here or by clicking the "Live Stats" link on LibertyFlames.com.

This weekend's contests will both be televised by the Liberty Channel, with an announcing team of Ray Jones and Lee Beaumont. The television feed will also be streamed via the Big South EDGE. The cost is $4.95 per match, and there are also seasonal rates available. To find out more about the Big South EDGE, click here or click "Live Video" on the volleyball schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com.

A Look at Liberty
Liberty, coached by Shane Pinder (42-66 in his fourth season), went 1-1 on last weekend's conference road swing to High Point and Winthrop. The Lady Flames' four-game triumph at High Point was the team's third road win of the year, matching Liberty's season total from 2006. Interestingly, the Lady Flames' record stands at .500 both at home (2-2) and on the road (3-3).

Freshman Nicki Scripko has steadily increased her statistical production this season, after the right-side hitter had offseason shoulder surgery. She notched a career-high and match-high 19 kills and a career-best 16 digs at High Point last Friday. Scripko then added 15 kills, 16 digs and five blocks against Winthrop.

Sophomore middle blocker Chelaine McCarty starred in the Lady Flames' match at Winthrop, hitting .324 with a team-high 17 kills. In her last five matches, McCarty's attack percentage stands at .384.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Nelson recorded back-to-back double-doubles, at High Point and Winthrop, last weekend. She leads the Big South Conference with 12 double-doubles this season in Liberty's 17 matches. For the season, Nelson leads the Lady Flames with 209 kills and is second on the team with 258 digs.

Senior libero/defensive specialist Lara Bartolomeo totaled 43 digs last weekend, and has tallied 20-plus digs in each of her last three matches. The team's season leader with 302 digs, Bartolomeo has posted the third 300-dig season of her Liberty career.

A .300 Hitter
McCarty's recent hot streak (.384 attack pct. in her last five games) has lifted her season hitting percentage to an even .300. No Liberty player has hit .300 for a season since Erin McKeown hit .338 in 2003.

Opening with a Bang
The Lady Flames are off to their best start to a season since the 1997 squad won 12 of its first 18 matches, including nine-straight contests at one point. The 1997 team went on to win Liberty's first Big South title in program history.

Top 10 Team
Liberty is currently ranked No. 7 nationally with 19.63 digs per game. The Lady Flames are averaging over three more digs per game than they did a season ago. Chattanooga leads the nation, coming up with 22.41 digs per game. Four Lady Flames have eclipsed the 200-dig plateau already, led by Bartolomeo's 302 digs. Nelson (258 digs), setter Kallie Corbin (217 digs) and freshman Karyl Bacon (204 digs) have also reached the 200-dig mark.

Hot in Home Openers
Friday's match versus Charleston Southern is Liberty's first home Big South match this season. The Lady Flames are 9-2 in their last 11 home conference openers, including a 3-0 sweep of Radford a year ago.

Best in the Big South
Liberty leads the Big South Conference in a trio of team statistical categories, entering the weekend. The Lady Flames top the conference in kills (15.09 kpg), digs (19.53 dpg) and blocks (2.32 bpg).

Individually, McCarty is fourth among conference players in attack percentage (.300) and fifth in blocks per game (0.85 bpg).

Corbin is also listed in the top five of two different categories, as she is second in assists per game (11.36) and fifth in aces per game (0.37).

Junior middle blocker Ashley Webber sits second in the Big South in blocks, with 1.04 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Bartolomeo ranks fifth in digs, at 4.44 digs per game.

Scouting Reports
Charleston Southern
The Charleston Southern Lady Buccaneers, from Charleston, S.C., are coached by 1997 CSU alumnus Danyel Bellush. She is nearing the 100-win milestone in her 11th season, bringing a career record of 97-207 into this weekend's action.

The Lady Buccaneers, coming off an 8-22 season, which saw them win only one Big South match, were predicted to finish last in the conference this season. However, CSU has already matched its 2006 season win total and are coming off a Saturday sweep of conference rival UNC Asheville.

A couple freshman attackers have helped to alter Charleston Southern's fortunes this season. Freshman outside hitter Amanda Hill paces the squad in kills (190), aces (21) and digs (180) during her rookie season, despite standing just 5-7. Classmate Amberle Trinder, a 5-11 middle blocker, ranks second in the Big South with a .330 attack percentage.

The Lady Buccaneers' roster has some international flavor. Senior Renae Popovich and sophomore Ashlee Kadatz both hail from Canada, while Istanbul, Turkey is the hometown of senior Canan Erdogan.

Liberty is 23-4 all-time against the Lady Buccaneers, but split with CSU a season ago. The Lady Flames won game five by a 24-22 margin on Oct. 8, 2006 to pull out a nailbiter against the Lady Buccaneers at the Vines Center. Charleston Southern then claimed its lone conference victory of the season in the teams' rematch, 3-0, on Oct. 21.

Coastal Carolina
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers also hail from the Palmetto State, with their campus located in Conway. CCU is coached by Kristen Bauer, in her ninth year with the Chanticleers. The 2000 and 2005 Big South Coach of the Year, Bauer owns a career record of 144-126.

The Chanticleers, who have nine underclassmen on their roster, have won eight of their last 10 matches, including both of their Big South contests during the span. The abundant freshmen and sophomores have played a key role in Coastal Carolina's success, headed by the outside hitter duo of Jill Nyhof and Chelsy Kimes.

Nyhof, a sophomore who made the Big South All-Freshman team a year ago, leads the Chanticleers with 230 kills. Kimes, the two-time reigning Big South Freshman of the Week, is close behind with 218 kills of her own.

Another rookie, 6-1 middle blocker Megan Bickford, is the Big South leader in attack percentage at .338. Meanwhile, sophomore setter Meagan Tracey orchestrates the offense and paces the conference with 11.86 assists per game.

Liberty leads the all-time series with Coastal Carolina, 19-16, and took two of three meetings in 2006. However, the Chanticleers won the most important match-up, eliminating the Lady Flames from the Big South Championship with a 3-1 decision, on Nov. 14 at the Vines Center.