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Lady Flames Set to Kick Off 2010 Season Friday
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Cleveland State
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Charlotte
Live Stats – Liberty at East Carolina
The 2010 Liberty volleyball squad will kick off the season this weekend, competing in the East Carolina Classic in Greenville, N.C. The five-time Big South Champion Lady Flames will face Cleveland State on Friday in their first match of 2010, facing off against the Vikings at 4 p.m.
The tournament continues on Saturday, when Liberty lines up against Charlotte at 11 a.m., followed by a match-up against the tournament-host East Carolina Pirates to conclude the tournament at 7 p.m.
East Carolina Classic Schedule
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
Friday, Aug. 27
Cleveland State vs. Liberty, 4 p.m.
Charlotte at East Carolina, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Liberty vs. Charlotte, 11 a.m.
Cleveland State at East Carolina, 1 p.m.
Charlotte vs. Cleveland State, 5 p.m.
Liberty at East Carolina, 7 p.m.
Keeping up with the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all ECU Classic matches, courtesy of the East Carolina Athletics Communications office. Fans can click "Live Stats" on the Liberty volleyball schedule/results page, or click the links at the top of this page.
East Carolina will also provide live streaming video for each of the Pirates' three tournament matches for a fee. To access the Liberty-East Carolina match Saturday at 7 p.m., click the live video link that will become available on match day.
Looking at Liberty
The Lady Flames enter the 2010 season after sharing the Big South regular-season title for the last three years. Head Coach Shane Pinder and the Lady Flames were voted to finish second in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, and senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon was named to the preseason All-Big South team. Bacon, a 2009 Big South all-tournament team selection, is joined by junior libero Kelly Haseman, another 2009 Big South all-tournament honoree, and sophomore middle blocker Loren Thomas, a 2009 All-Freshman team member.
The squad also welcomes five newcomers, including right-side hitter Katie Beecher, setter Jade Craycraft, outside hitters Kaylee Groeneveld and Lillie Happel and libero Becca Haraf.
Liberty finished the 2009 season with a 20-14 overall record and a 13-3 mark in the Big South.
Typically Off to a Good Start
The Lady Flames have won their season opener in impressive fashion for the last three years, claiming 3-0 victories over Howard (2007), N.C. State (2008) and UNC Greensboro (2009). Liberty will attempt to win its fourth consecutive season kick-off match against Cleveland State on Friday afternoon.
Incoming freshmen have fared well in the past for the Lady Flames, as Liberty has had a representative voted to the All-Freshman team for the last six years. Loren Thomas picked up the honor last year, while Nicki Scripko and Kallie Corbin earned Big South Freshman/Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and 2006, respectively. Kelly Haseman also made the Big South All-Freshman Team in 2008.
The Lone Senior
Karyl Bacon is the only senior on this year's young squad, and is joined by eight players with no college match experience (including five newcomers and three athletes who redshirted last season). The last time a Liberty team only had one senior was in 2002, when Crystal Carey competed in her final season as a Lady Flame. Carey went on to serve as a graduate assistant coach at Liberty in 2008 and 2009.
Around the Big South
Eight of nine Big South volleyball teams kick off the 2010 season on Friday. Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern are both appearing the Hilton RTP/NCCU Volleyball Tournament in Durham, N.C., while the Lady Eagles of Winthrop will be in Williamsburg, Va., competing in the Tribe Invitational on the campus of William & Mary.
UNC Asheville will travel to Harrisonburg, Va., for the James Madison Invitational, and High Point is hosting the High Point University Classic, welcoming UNC Wilmington, N.C. A&T and Appalachian State to the Millis Center.
The defending conference champion Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina will be in Winston-Salem, N.C. for the Deacon Invitational at Wake Forest, and Radford will compete in the Duquesne Tournament in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The only Big South team not competing this weekend is Presbyterian. The Blue Hose will begin their season on Aug. 31 with an away match in Greenville, S.C., against the Furman Paladins.
Scouting the Competition
The Vikings are coming off their first-ever Horizon League regular-season title, and have been tabbed to finish second in their conference this year behind Milwaukee.
Cleveland State returns 10 letterwinners this year, and the team's 26 wins in 2009 were the sixth most in program history.
The Lady Flames are 0-1 all-time against the Vikings, falling 3-0 on Oct. 17, 1998 during a tournament at Morehead State.
The 49ers finished sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference last year, and were selected to finish in the same spot in this season's preseason poll. Charlotte also qualified for the postseason conference tournament for the first time in three seasons in 2009.
Liberty and Charlotte last met in 2006, when the 49ers swept the Lady Flames, 3-0, on Oct. 24 at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames are 4-3 all-time against Charlotte.
The Pirates went 9-19 overall in 2009, with a 2-14 mark in Conference USA play. The squad features five returners under second-year head coach Pati Rolf, and eight newcomers join the young team.
The Lady Flames have never dropped a match to the Pirates, and Liberty took a 3-1 victory in the last meeting between the two squads in 2003. Liberty is 3-0 all-time against East Carolina.