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Five Matches Await Lady Flames in California

September 15, 2010
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Lady Flames will play five matches in California this weekend, appearing in the Asics Challenge in Irvine and the Fullerton Classic in Fullerton.

Live Stats – Liberty vs. UC Irvine
Live Audio – Liberty vs. Cal State Fullerton

After a 3-1 home-opening win over James Madison, Tuesday night, the Liberty Lady Flames are en route to the Golden State for two tournament appearances Thursday through Saturday.

The Lady Flames will first travel to Irvine, Calif., to face off against UC Irvine as part of the Asics Challenge, Thursday night, at 9 p.m. EST.

Friday and Saturday, Liberty will compete in the Fullerton Classic in Fullerton, Calif. They will meet West Virginia and Yale on Friday, followed by matches against Pennsylvania and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

The Tuesday night win over JMU snapped the Dukes' four-match winning streak, and gave Head Coach Shane Pinder his 111th career win, making him the second winningest coach in Liberty history.

Asics Challenge
Irvine, Calif.
The Bren Center

Thursday, Sept. 16
Liberty at UC Irvine, 9 p.m. EST

Friday, Sept. 17
Penn vs. UCLA, 11 p.m. EST

Saturday, Sept. 18
UCLA vs. UC Irvine, 10 p.m. EST

Fullerton Classic
Fullerton, Calif.
Titan Gym

Friday, Sept. 17
West Virginia vs. Liberty, 2:30 p.m. EST
Penn at Cal State Fullerton, 5 p.m. EST
Liberty vs. Yale, 7:30 p.m. EST
West Virginia at Cal State Fullerton, 10 p.m. EST

Saturday, Sept. 18
Penn vs. Liberty, 1 p.m. EST
West Virginia vs. Yale, 3:30 p.m. EST
Liberty at Cal State Fullerton, 6 p.m. EST
Penn vs. West Virginia, 8:30 p.m. EST
Yale at Cal State Fullerton, 10:30 p.m. EST

Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for the Asics Challenge, courtesy of the UC Irvine Athletics Communications office. Fans can click "Live Stats" on the Liberty volleyball schedule/results page, or click the link at the top of this page.

Live stats are not provided at the Fullerton Classic. However, Cal State Fullerton will provide free live audio streaming for its matchup against Liberty on Saturday at 6 p.m. EST. To access it, click the live audio link on the Liberty volleyball schedule page, or click the link at the top of this page. For the matches against Yale and Penn, check @libertyflames on Twitter for updates.

Liberty at a Glance
At 7-3 on the year, the Lady Flames have the second-best record through the first 10 matches in program history. Both the 1996 and 2008 squads went 8-2 to kick off the season.

Liberty has won two matches in a row after defeating Elon, 3-0, in the final match of the Elon Phoenix Classic on Sept. 11, and JMU, 3-1, in Tuesday night's Liberty home opener. The Lady Flames are a perfect 5-0 in four-set matches, 2-2 in three-set matches and 0-1 in five setters. That five-set match was the first match of the season, as Liberty fell to Cleveland State, 3-2 (22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 22-25, 11-15), on Aug. 27.

Career Milestones
Two Lady Flames have achieved career numbers this season, as Karyl Bacon posted a career-high 20 kills twice, and Kelly Haseman surpassed 1,000 digs during Liberty's Sept. 10 win over Stetson. Haseman also recorded a season-high 30 digs Tuesday against JMU.

All-Tournament Recognition
Karyl Bacon has been named to all three all-tournament teams this season, making the mark at the ECU Classic, the UVA Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup and the Elon Phoenix Classic. Jade Craycraft was also a recipient of the honor at the ECU Classic and the UVA Jefferson Cup, while Lillie Happel picked up her first collegiate award as an all-tournament honoree at the Elon Phoenix Classic.

Serving Stars
The Lady Flames have tallied 97 service aces this season, including 13 aces against Stetson alone. The Lady Flames currently rank second in the Big South in the category, averaging 1.73 aces per set. The Highlanders of Radford are first, averaging 1.75 aces per set.

Additionally, Karyl Bacon notched 13 straight service points in the second set against JMU on Tuesday.

Leading the Big South
As a team, Liberty leads the conference in hitting percentage (.223), assists (11.92 per set), and kills (13.30 per set). Aside from aces, Liberty also ranks second in the Big South in opponent hitting percentage (.157).

Individually, Kelly Haseman leads all Big South players with 5.22 digs per set, while Jade Craycraft ranks in the top five in two different categories (second with 0.46 aces per set and third with 9.54 assists per set), while Karyl Bacon is No. 2 with 4.11 kills per set.

Going for 10
With three wins this weekend, the Lady Flames could become the fourth team in program history to post 10 victories before the start of conference play. The Lady Flames will play Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Sept. 24, for their 2010 conference opener.

Liberty Across the Nation
Four Lady Flames are ranked in the top 50 in the nation in different categories, for matches up to Sept. 12, 2010. Karyl Bacon ranked No. 22 with 4.27 kills per set, while Kelly Haseman was No. 45 with 4.94 digs per set. In addition, Jade Craycraft and Erica Manor are tied for 45th with 0.48 aces per set.

California Girls…
The trip to the West coast marks a semi-homecoming for senior Karyl Bacon and sophomore Hannah Anderson. Bacon hails from Temecula, Calif., while Anderson is from Rocklin, Calif. This will be Liberty's first trip to California since 2005, when the Lady Flames competed in the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State.

Around the Big South
Liberty is one of two teams in the Big South with a winning record, and the Lady Flames are at the top of the conference at 7-3. Presbyterian College is second with a 4-3 record, followed by Coastal Carolina and Radford (both 5-5). Charleston Southern, UNC Asheville and Gardner-Webb are all 4-6, while High Point is 3-8 and Winthrop is 2-7.

Conference play will open with a pair of matches on Tuesday, Sept. 21, when Charleston Southern takes on Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C., and Gardner-Webb takes on UNC Asheville in Asheville, N.C.

Scouting the Competition
UC Irvine (3-6)
The Anteaters are 3-6 on the year after facing some tough competition, including No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Hawaii and No. 23 San Diego. UC Irvine was swept by each of those ranked teams, while posting wins over Idaho, Weber State and San Diego State.

2009 AVCA All-American outside hitter Kari Pestolesi leads the attack with 90 kills, and also posts 114 digs.
As a team, the Anteaters are hitting .139 compared to the .229 attack percentage of their opponents.

Also as a team, UC Irvine is in the top 10 nationally for digs per set, sitting at No. 9 with 17.93 per set.

The Lady Flames are 1-1 all-time against UC Irvine, and Liberty took a 3-0 victory in the last meeting on Sept. 21, 2008, at the Golden Dome Invitational. That marked the program's first-ever win over a Division I volleyball team from California, and Karyl Bacon recorded a team-high 14 digs in the match.

West Virginia(7-3)
The 2010 Mountaineers match Liberty in overall record, and started the year on a 4-0 run. They are currently on a two-match winning streak after defeating East Carolina and Campbell, both in 3-0 decisions.
West Virginia has a .207 attack percentage compared to .140 for their opponents, and as a team, the Mountaineers have collected 61 service aces.

The squad is paced by Lauren Evans with 82 kills, a .365 hitting percentage and 22 blocks. As a squad, the Mountaineers rank No. 5 in the NCAA in digs, averaging 18.23 per set.

The Lady Flames are 4-5 all-time against the Mountaineers, falling 3-0 in the last meeting on Aug. 31, 2002, as part of the Duquesne Tournament. The last time Liberty beat West Virginia was on Oct. 4, 1994, when the Lady Flames took a 3-2 decision on the road.

Yale (5-1)
The Bulldogs have only dropped one match this season, a 3-1 decision to Georgetown on Sept. 11. They opened up the year by hosting the Yale Invitational, and went undefeated, posting wins over Stony Brook, Quinnipiac and Rhode Island.

Kelly Ozurovich leads the nation in digs, averaging 6.15 per set, while Bridget Hearst leads the team with 76 kills and a .318 attack percentage.

Liberty and Yale have only met once previously, and the Bulldogs took a 3-2 win on Sept. 18, 1993, in the Rutgers Tournament.

Pennsylvania (3-3)
Penn is at an even .500 on the year, posting wins over Temple and LaSalle. Most recently, the Quakers went 1-2 at the Terrapin Invitational last weekend, falling to Maryland and Tulane without taking a set, before sweeping Fairfield, 3-0.

Middle blocker Amanda Pacheco has 53 kills and a .402 attack percentage, and middle blocker Susan Stuecheli leads the defense with 24 total blocks.

Last year's Penn team advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament after winning the Ivy League title.

The Lady Flames are 0-1 against Penn, with the only meeting taking place on Oct. 4, 1991. Penn took that match by a 3-0 score.

Cal State Fullerton (6-3)
All six of the Titans' victories have come as 3-0 sweeps, while they took two sets off of Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount and one set off of No. 10 USC.

Outside hitter Kayla Neto leads the squad with 102 kills and a .393 hitting percentage, while the team is out-blocking its opponents, 59.0 – 50.5. Libero Cami Croteau is averaging 4.75 digs per set, which would put her second in the Big South behind Kelly Haseman (4.94 digs per set).

Saturday marks the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Cal State Fullerton.