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Lady Flames Picked to Win Big South Title
Winthrop senior middle hitter Shannon Sitzmann, the 2007 Big South Player of the Year, was voted Big South Preseason Player of the Year. She was joined on the preseason all-conference team by Corbin (Jr., S, Beaverton, Ore.), Scripko (So., OH, Fayetteville, N.C.), UNC Asheville's Raquel Miotto, Coastal Carolina's Megan Bickford, High Point's Kristina Taylor and Presbyterian's Kelsey McKee.
In the team balloting, Liberty received eight first-place votes and 80 out of a possible 81 points. Finishing second was 2007 conference runner-up Winthrop, with the remaining first-place vote and 71 points. High Point placed third with 60 points, while Coastal Carolina was fourth with 52.
UNC Asheville, which will host the 2008 Big South Volleyball Championship Nov. 20-22, came in fifth with 48 points. The No. 6 and 7 positions went to the two new conference squads, Presbyterian (33 points) and Gardner-Webb (25), respectively. Charleston Southern received 21 points to finish eighth, and Radford totaled 15 points for the ninth spot.
Head coach Shane Pinder's Lady Flames return six starters from their 2007 team, which went 27-9 overall and 11-1 in Big South action. Last season, Liberty captured its first Big South Championship title since 2001 and took a game from Cal in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship.
Corbin and Scripko are Liberty's most highly-decorated returnees. Corbin, a member of the Big South preseason all-conference squad for the second year in a row, was voted the 2007 Big South Championship MVP. She was also a first-team All-Big South honoree and a first-team VaSID All-State selection. In 2007, the Oregonian led the conference and ranked No. 34 nationally with 12.70 assists per game. Corbin ranked second in the Big South with 49 service aces.
Scripko claimed the 2007 Big South Freshman of the Year award and joined Corbin on the first-team All-Big South roster. A right-side hitter as a freshman, Scripko earned honorable mention AVCA All-East Region recognition, becoming one of nine freshmen in the nation to be honored by the AVCA. Scripko came into her own during Big South Conference play, ranking second to Sitzmann in both attack percentage (.343) and kills per game (4.26 kpg) in conference-only matches.
Liberty opens its 2008 season this weekend, at the VCU Third Degree Sportswear Invitational in Richmond. Va. The Lady Flames will meet ACC foe N.C. State in their season lid-lifter, tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the Alltel Pavilion.
2008 Big South Volleyball Preseason Poll (First-place votes) – Points
1) Liberty (8) – 80 points
2) Winthrop (1) – 71
3) High Point – 60
4) Coastal Carolina – 52
5) UNC Asheville – 48
6) Presbyterian – 33
7) Gardner-Webb – 25
8) Charleston Southern – 21
9) Radford – 15
2008 Big South Volleyball Preseason All-Conference Team
Shannon Sitzmann, Sr., MB, Winthrop (Preseason Player of the Year)
Kallie Corbin, Jr., S, Liberty
Nicki Scripko, So., OH, Liberty
Raquel Miotto, Jr., LIB, UNC Asheville
Megan Bickford, So., MB, Coastal Carolina
Kristina Taylor, Sr., S, High Point
Kelsey McKee, Jr., MB, Presbyterian