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Liberty Netters to Play Three Matches in Four Days
The Lady Flames are 12-7 overall and 4-1 in Big South action. Liberty's conference mark has the team in second place in the Big South standings, one-half game behind Winthrop.
This Week's Schedule
Friday, Oct. 12
Presbyterian (15-7) at Liberty (12-7, 4-1 Big South) – 7 p.m. – Vines Center
Sunday, Oct. 14
UNC Asheville (6-15, 0-4 Big South) at Liberty – 2 p.m. – Vines Center
Monday, Oct. 15
Liberty at East Tennessee State (13-9) – 6 p.m. – Brooks Gym
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live streaming video will be available for both home weekend matches at the Vines Center. To access live statistical updates for Friday evening's match against Presbyterian, click here or click "Live Stats" on the volleyball/schedule results page of LibertyFlames.com. Live stats for Sunday's contest with UNC Asheville 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 Sunday match will be tape-delayed and shown Tuesday night at 7 p.m.) The television feed for both matches will be streamed LIVE via the Big South EDGE, however. 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 (44-66 in his fourth season), swept both Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina last weekend, in its first two home Big South tilts of the season. The Lady Flames have already eclipsed their win total from the entire 2006 season (11), with at least 15 matches remaining.
Freshman right-side hitter Nicki Scripko won the first Big South Freshman of the Week award of her career, after hitting .429 in the Lady Flames' two weekend wins. Her efforts included a career-best .448 attack percentage and a match-high 17 kills in Liberty's 3-0 whitewashing of Coastal Carolina, last Saturday. Scripko is the second Lady Flame to be named Big South Freshman of the Week this season, joining outside hitter/defensive specialist Karyl Bacon, the conference's honoree on Aug. 27.
Sophomore setter Kallie Corbin recorded 90 assists over the weekend, including 50 versus Coastal Carolina. Corbin had never posted 50 assists in a three-game match prior to last Saturday. She also became the seventh Lady Flame to reach 100 kills on the season, after coming up with six kills against the Chanticleers.
Redshirt junior Jessica Nelson continues to lead the Big South Conference in double-doubles, after picking up her 13th double-double of the season against Coastal Carolina. Nelson finished the match with 13 kills and a dozen digs.
Bacon, recovering from an ankle injury, finished with 12 kills and nine digs in the Charleston Southern match, last Friday. Her kill total was the freshman's highest in a match since Sept. 1, when she had 13 kills at VCU.
A Balanced Attack
As previously mentioned, Corbin became Liberty's seventh member of the 100-kill club so far this season, this past weekend. The Lady Flames' other top attackers include Nelson (227 kills), sophomore middle blocker Chelaine McCarty (211), Scripko (164), junior middle blocker Ashley Webber (149), redshirt junior outside hitter Alysson Sanders (124) and Bacon (121). No Liberty team in at least the last 19 seasons has seen more than six players total 100 kills in the same season.
Top 10 Team
Liberty is currently ranked No. 7 nationally with 19.64 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 22.26 digs per game. The Lady Flames have recorded more digs than their opponent 15 times in 19 matches this season. Liberty is 12-3 when it outdigs its foe in a match.
Corbin has tallied 1,950 assists thus far in her career and needs 50 more to reach the 2,000-assist plateau. Meanwhile, Lara Bartolomeo ranks fifth in Liberty history with 1,404 digs. She needs 76 digs to pass Erin McKeown for fourth on the list.
Best in the Big South
Liberty leads the Big South Conference in four team statistical categories, entering the weekend. The Lady Flames top the conference in kills (15.38 kpg), digs (19.64 dpg), blocks (2.31 bpg) and opponent hitting percentage (.162).
Individually, Corbin is the new conference leader with 11.84 assists per game, and ranks No. 77 in the nation in the category. She also sits fifth, with 0.35 service aces per game.
McCarty is third among conference players in attack percentage (.305) and fellow middle blocker Webber sits second in the Big South in blocks, with 1.04 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Bartolomeo ranks fifth in digs, at 4.49 digs per game.
The Presbyterian Blue Hose, coached by Chris Belshe, are located in Clinton, S.C., and will be a full Big South Conference member in 2011. Belshe is 24-32 in his second year at Presbyterian.
The 2007 season has been one of streaks for the Blue Hose, in their first season of transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. Presbyterian started off the year at 0-4, before reeling off 15-consecutive wins. Now, though, the Blue Hose have dropped three-straight matches and enter the Vines Center with a 15-7 ledger.
One reason for the Blue Hose's recent struggles is an injury, which has sidelined the team's lone senior, 5-9 outside hitter Lauren Mason, for the last two matches. Mason is Presbyterian's leader in kills with 362 and is second on the team with 232 digs.
Kelsey McKee, a 6-0 sophomore middle blocker, has stepped up in Mason's stead, pacing the Blue Hose in kills in each of the last two matches. On the year, she is hitting a team-best .367 and paces the squad with 61 blocks.
Presbyterian is 3-2 against its future conference rivals this season, owning wins over Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and UNC Asheville. The Blue Hose have dropped decisions to High Point and Winthrop.
Liberty and Presbyterian have never squared off on the volleyball court. Friday's match will be the first of two meetings between the Lady Flames and Blue Hose this season. Liberty will travel to Clinton, S.C. for a match at the Ross E. Templeton P.E. Center, Nov. 2.
The UNC Asheville Bulldogs, from Asheville, N.C., are coached by Julie Torbett, in her 14th season on the UNCA bench. Her career record stands at 236-218, entering the weekend action.
The Bulldogs advanced to the title match of the Big South Championship a year ago, for the third time in four years, before falling to Winthrop. Five starters returned from the 2006 UNC Asheville squad, leading to high expectations entering the 2007 campaign.
UNC Asheville was the lone Big South Conference team to place a pair of players on the preseason all-conference roster, 5-11 sophomore middle blocker Lauren Ficker and 5-10 sophomore libero Raquel Miotto. Neither has disappointed so far this season.
Ficker is tied for fifth in the Big South with 0.90 blocks per game and sits seventh with a .251 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Miotto, a first-team all-conference performer as a freshman, is currently fourth in the conference with 4.81 digs per game.
The Bulldogs have also received stellar play from 5-10 freshman outside hitter Kelsey Benorden, who ranks second in the conference, at 3.96 kills per game. She also sits just one double-double behind Liberty's Nelson atop the double-double leaderboard, with a dozen to her credit so far.
Despite the strong individual statistics, the Bulldogs are seeking their first Big South triumph and have lost seven-consecutive matches overall, directly on the heels of a five-match winning streak.
Liberty owns a 22-16 advantage in the all-time head-to-head series between the two clubs. The Lady Flames and Bulldogs split their two match-ups in 2006, with each team prevailing on its home court.
East Tennessee State
The East Tennessee State Buccaneers, from Johnson City, Tenn., compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference. They are coached by Lindsey Devine, who is 72-74 in her fifth season at the helm.
The Buccaneers went 25-7 a season ago, winning 16-straight matches at one point in the season, on their way to the Atlantic Sun regular-season crown. Three starters, including second-team All-Atlantic Sun members Kaena Apana and Callie Kiselich, are back for ETSU.
East Tennessee State, 4-1 in conference action so far this season, is one of four one-loss teams atop the Atlantic Sun standings. Apana, a 5-7 senior libero, paces the conference with 6.24 digs per game. Kiselich is the current team leader with 68 blocks and is hitting .262. Desiree Dyck, a 5-11 freshman outside hitter, stands as the Buccaneers' leader with 264 kills.
The Buccaneers have won both of their matches against Big South opponents in 2007, defeating both Radford and UNC Asheville. ETSU will also bring an unscathed, 5-0 home mark into Monday evening's tilt, and have won 13-straight home matches, dating back to last season. Big South competitor Winthrop was the last opposing team to emerge victorious from Brooks Gym, taking a 3-0 win on Sept. 9, 2006.
Another streak Liberty would like to snap is the Buccaneers' string of success versus the Lady Flames. ETSU has won all four all-time meetings, including a 3-2 triumph at the Vines Center, Nov. 7, 2006. Apana set a Vines Center record with 41 digs on the evening, helping the Buccaneers erase a 2-0 deficit.