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Lady Flames to Host Big South Volleyball Championship as No. 1 Seed

November 15, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty volleyball team, seeded No. 1, will play in the second semifinal, Friday evening at 7 p.m.

The Liberty volleyball team, seeded No. 1, will play in the second semifinal, Friday evening at 7 p.m.

For the first time since 2001, Liberty hosts the Big South Volleyball Championship at the Vines Center, but the Lady Flames will not take the court until Friday at 7 p.m., in the second of two semifinal tilts. Liberty, by virtue of its No. 1 seed, has earned a first-round bye, as the Lady Flames seek their first conference title since 2001.

Liberty's semifinal opponent will be the winner of Thursday's match between No. 4 Coastal Carolina and No. 5 Radford. The Lady Flames went 2-0 versus both opponents during the season, but the Chanticleers ousted Liberty from the Big South Championship a season ago, at the Vines Center.

If Liberty wins on Friday, the Lady Flames will play in the Big South championship match, Saturday at 4 p.m. The tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament.

Playing before a Big South-record 1,622 fans on Senior Night, this past Saturday evening, Liberty swept Radford, 3-0, to record its school-record 14th-straight win. The victory enabled the Lady Flames to capture a share of their first Big South regular-season crown since 2003.

Big South Volleyball Championship Schedule
Thursday, Nov. 15 (Quarterfinals)
Match 1: No. 2 Winthrop vs. No. 7 Charleston Southern, 2 p.m.
Match 2: No. 3 High Point vs. No. 6 UNC Asheville, 4:30 p.m.
Match 3: No. 4 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 5 Radford, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 16 (Semifinals)
Match 4: Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2, 4:30 p.m.
Match 5: No. 1 Liberty vs. Winner of Match 3, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 17 (Championship Match)
Match 6: Winner of Match 4 vs. Winner of Match 5, 4 p.m.
(Champion advances to NCAA Volleyball Tournament)

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all Big South Volleyball Championship matches. They are accessible by clicking "Live Stats" on the volleyball schedule/results page of LibertyFlames.com, or by clicking here.

The match(es) involving Liberty will be broadcast on the Liberty Channel, by the announcing team of Ray Jones and Lee Beaumont. The Liberty Channel feed will also be available via the Big South EDGE, for a cost of $6.95 per day, or $14.95 for the entire tournament. All tournament matches not involving Liberty will be streamed via the EDGE as well. Click here for more information on the EDGE, or click "Live Video" on the volleyball schedule/results page.

Finally, a Tournament Central page is available here at LibertyFlames.com. This informative page includes information on all seven tournament teams, tickets, parking and much more.

A Look at Liberty
Liberty, coached by Shane Pinder (56-66 in his fourth season), has won 42 of its last 43 games, a streak which began Oct. 5 against Charleston Southern. Pinder has been voted Big South Coach of the Year for the first time in his career, after leading a squad which starts four underclassmen to the most wins by a Liberty team since 1997. Four of Pinder's players received Big South awards Wednesday evening, including Nicki Scripko, Kallie Corbin, Chelaine McCarty and Jessica Nelson.

Scripko, a 6-1 right-side hitter, became Liberty's second-consecutive Big South Freshman of the Year, after Corbin won the award in 2006. Scripko is also the second Lady Flame freshman (Anthonia Akpama in 1996) ever to be named to the first-team All-Big South roster and additionally found a spot on the Big South All-Freshman team. She ranks second in the Big South in both attack percentage (.343) and kills per game (4.26 kpg) in conference-only matches and won a Big South-best four Freshman of the Week awards.

Corbin, a 5-9 sophomore setter, joined Scripko on the All-Big South first-team squad. A three-time Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week this season, Corbin leads the conference in assists (12.72 apg) and sits third in aces (0.39 apg). She has directed the Lady Flame offense to a conference-high .236 attack percentage.

McCarty, a 6-2 sophomore middle blocker, is a second-team All-Big South player in her first season since transferring from Auburn. McCarty leads the conference with a .340 attack percentage and has hit .300 or higher in 17 of her last 18 matches.

Nelson, a 5-9 redshirt junior outside hitter, has not missed a step since returning from an injury which sidelined her for the entire 2006 season. She garnered a spot on the Big South All-Academic team for the first time in her career. She leads Liberty with 347 kills and her 430 digs are the second most by any non-libero in the conference. A family and child development major, Nelson owns a 3.36 GPA.

Lady Flames' Last Big South Volleyball Championship Appearance
Liberty went 9-5 in Big South play in 2006 and earned the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament. The Lady Flames hosted Coastal Carolina in a first-round match at the Vines Center, but dropped a 3-1 decision.

Autum Black hit .484 with a team-high 18 kills in her final match as a Lady Flame, but then-freshman Jill Nyhof played a stellar contest for Coastal Carolina, racking up 21 kills and 10 digs.

Liberty in the Big South Championship
Liberty is 20-13 (.606) all-time in the Big South Volleyball Championship and owns the highest tournament winning percentage among current conference teams. The Lady Flames captured the tournament title in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Pinder was an assistant coach for the 1999 and 2001 title teams, while current assistant coaches Jennifer (Belk) Vaden and Becky Rudnick were freshmen on the 2001 Lady Flames squad.

Liberty has made six appearances in the championship match, the most recent of which came in 2002.
Home-Court Advantage
Liberty's 3-0 sweep of Radford last Saturday marked the Lady Flames' ninth-consecutive win at the Vines Center. Liberty is 11-2 at home this season.

Record Streaks
Liberty's 13-match winning streak broke the program record of 12-consecutive triumphs, which was previously owned by the 1987 Lady Flames, under head coach Sue Kelly.

Rally-Scoring Records
By the time the year is completed, the Liberty single-season rally-scoring record lists will look a lot different than they did when the season began. Below is an up-to-date glance at each of the lists.

Kills
Jennifer Belk – 507 (2004)
Rachel Harnack – 489 (2001)
Erin McKeown – 480 (2002)
Jennifer Belk – 444 (2002)
Jennifer Belk – 444 (2001)

Attack Pct.
Chelaine McCarty - . 340 (2007)
Erin McKeown - .339 (2002)
Erin McKeown - .338 (2003)
Nicki Scripko - .298 (2007)
Ashley Webber - .294 (2007)

Assists
Kristin Colson – 1,630 (2002)
Michelle Howland – 1,512 (2001)
Kallie Corbin – 1,412 (2007)
Kristin Colson – 1,334 (2004)
Kristin Colson – 1,270 (2003)

Service Aces
Kallie Corbin – 52 (2006)
Kallie Corbin – 43 (2007)
Kristin Colson – 41 (2002)
Jennifer Belk – 40 (2003)
Alysson Sanders – 34 (2006)
Jessica Nelson – 34 (2006)

Blocks
Ashley Webber – 112 (2007)
Erin McKeown – 106 (2003)
Autum Black – 104 (2006)
Autum Black – 99 (2004)
Autum Black – 96 (2005)

Digs
Lara Bartolomeo – 494 (2006)
Lara Bartolomeo – 477 (2007)
Jennifer Belk – 442 (2002)
Jessica Nelson – 430 (2007)
Erin McKeown – 420 (2002)

Best in the Big South
Liberty leads the Big South Conference in six out of seven team statistical categories. The Lady Flames top the conference in attack percentage (.236), opponent hitting percentage (.146), assists (14.80 apg), kills (16.34 kpg), blocks (2.34 bpg) and digs (19.67 dpg).

Individually, five Lady Flames rank in the top five of Big South statistical categories, highlighted by Corbin, who leads the conference with 12.72 assists per game and is third with 0.39 aces per game.

McCarty leads the conference in attack percentage at .340 and Ashley Webber is second with 1.01 blocks per game. Webber also sits fifth in attack percentage, hitting at a .294 clip.

Scripko resides in fourth place for attack percentage, at .298, while Bartolomeo ranks fifth with 4.38 digs per stanza.

Scouting Reports

Charleston Southern
Record: 10-20, 1-11 Big South
Seed: No. 7
Head Coach: Danyel Bellush
Record at CSU (Years): 99-218 (11 Years)
Overall Record (Years): Same
Big South Honorees: Nichole Diller, So., RS – All-Academic team; Amanda Hill, Fr., OH – Second team All-Big South, All-Freshman team.
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Lost 3-0 to Winthrop in first round
All-Time Tournament Record: 9-18
Big South Titles/Most Recent: 3/1989
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Liberty leads, 1-0.

Coastal Carolina
Record: 14-16, 6-6 Big South
Seed: No. 4
Head Coach: Kristen Bauer
Record at CCU (Years): 148-134 (Nine Years)
Overall Record (Years): Same
Big South Honorees: Megan Bickford, Fr., MB – First team All-Big South, All-Freshman team; Chelsy Kimes, Fr., OH – All-Freshman team; Jill Nyhof, So., OH – All-Academic team
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Lost 3-2 to UNC Asheville in semifinals
All-Time Tournament Record: 17-18
Big South Titles/Most Recent: 2/1998
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Coastal Carolina leads, 4-2.

High Point
Record: 24-8, 8-4 Big South
Seed: No. 3
Head Coach: Chad Esposito
Record at HPU (Years): 75-93 (Five Years)
Overall Record (Years): 231-190 (11 Years)
Big South Honorees: Audie Gonzalez, So., OH – Second team All-Big South; Lauren Hatch, Jr., S – All-Academic team; Julie Hershkowitz, Fr., DS/L – All-Freshman team; Ashley Mellott, Jr., OH – Second team All-Big South; Kristina Taylor, Jr., S, First team All-Big South
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Lost 3-0 to Birmingham-Southern in first round
All-Time Tournament Record: 0-8
Big South Titles/Most Recent: N/A
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Liberty leads, 2-0.

Radford
Record: 8-23, 3-9 Big South
Seed: No. 5
Head Coach: Crystal Poskey
Record at RU (Years): 17-42 (Two Years)
Overall Record (Years): Same
Big South Honorees: Melinda Clelland, Jr., MB – All-Academic team; Lindsey Poole, Jr., OH – Second team All-Big South
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Lost 3-0 to UNC Asheville in first round
All-Time Tournament Record: 21-17
Big South Titles/Most Recent: 4/2000
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Liberty leads, 3-1.

UNC Asheville
Record: 11-21, 2-10 Big South
Seed: No. 6
Head Coach: Julie Torbett
Record at UNCA (Years): 241-224 (14 Years)
Overall Record (Years): Same
Big South Honorees: Kelsey Benorden, Fr., OH – Second team All-Big South, All-Freshman team; Raquel Miotto, So., L, -- Second team All-Big South; Ashley Wrightenberry, Sr., MB, All-Academic team
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Lost 3-0 to Winthrop in championship match
All-Time Tournament Record: 17-17
Big South Titles/Most Recent: 2/1992
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Liberty leads, 4-3.

Winthrop
Record: 18-10, 11-1 Big South
Seed: No. 2
Head Coach: Sally Polhamus
Record at WU (Years): 18-10 (One Year)
Overall Record (Years): Same
Big South Honorees: Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Jr., L – Scholar-Athlete of the Year, All-Academic team, First team All-Big South; Shannon Sitzmann, R-Jr., MB – Player of the Year, First team All-Big South
2006 Big South Tournament Result: Won Big South title
All-Time Tournament Record: 23-15
Big South Titles/Most Recent: 5/2006
All-Time Big South Tournament Series vs. Liberty: Liberty leads, 3-2.