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Lady Flames Return Home to Host Winthrop, Charleston Southern
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Winthrop
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Live Video – Liberty vs. Winthrop
After defeating the Panthers of High Point, 3-0, on the road Tuesday night, the Liberty Lady Flames return to the Vines Center for seven of the next eight matches. The home stretch kicks off Friday night with a matchup against Winthrop at 7 p.m., followed by a Saturday 2 p.m. contest against the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern.
After Tuesday's sweep of High Point, Liberty leads the Big South standings with a 3-0 conference record. The only other undefeated team in conference play is UNC Asheville, and the Bulldogs sit at 2-0. Prior to Tuesday, High Point was also undefeated in conference play.
Friday's match marks Liberty's second home match of the season, and its first home conference match of 2010.
Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
Tomorrow's match will be available to view on the Big South Network for a small fee. To access, click the links at the top of this page, or find the same link on the Schedule/Results page. The match against Winthrop will also be televised on the Liberty Channel.
In addition, live stats for both matches will be provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can also be accessed by clicking the link at the top of this page, or by clicking the same link on the Schedule/Results page.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames are 12-6 overall, and 3-0 in Big South Conference play.
Currently, Liberty is outperforming its opponents in multiple categories. The Lady Flames are outhitting their counterparts, 861 kills to 763, and are posting a .223 attack percentage while holding their opponents to .180.
Spearheaded by freshman setter Jade Craycraft, Liberty is edging its opponents in assists, 791-713. In addition, behind the efforts of junior libero Kelly Haseman, the Lady Flames are also leading their opponents in digs, 957-927.
Liberty is now riding a three-match winning streak, after holding off Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian College during the weekend, and sweeping the Panthers on Tuesday. The Lady Flames also snapped High Point's four-match winning streak with the sweep.
Additionally, the three-game Liberty streak ties for the team's longest winning streak in 2010. The Lady Flames also won three in a row early in the season, posting consecutive victories over Charlotte, East Carolina and George Washington.
Liberty is now 3-0 in conference play after winning its first three Big South matches on the road. The 2010 squad becomes the fourth Liberty team to go 3-0 in its first three road conference matches. The 2001, 2003 and 2008 squads did the same.
The Lady Flames are 14-5 all-time in home conference openers, and have won the last four in a row.
Friday night's 2010 home conference opener against Winthrop is eerily familiar to last year, as the Lady Flames also faced the Eagles in their first Big South match at home in 2009. Additionally, Friday night also marks the 2010 Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame banquet, which was also the case on the night of the Liberty-Winthrop match last year.
The Lady Flames defeated the visiting Lady Eagles in a cutthroat five-set match, 3-2, and the final set went all the way to 27-25.
Tuesday Night Sweeps
All eight Big South teams that competed Tuesday night were involved in a 3-0 sweep. In conference matches, Winthrop defeated Charleston Southern and Presbyterian College beat Gardner-Webb. In non-conference play, UNC Asheville swept Mercer while Coastal Carolina defeated UNC Wilmington. Liberty completed the night of sweeps with a 3-0 win over High Point.
Feels Good to be Home
Starting Friday, the Lady Flames will play seven of their next eight matches at the Vines Center after competing in 17 of its first 18 matches on the road.
Fantastic in Five
By defeating Presbyterian College, 3-2, on Saturday night, the Lady Flames picked up their first five-set win of 2010. Liberty dropped earlier five-setters to Cleveland State and UC Irvine.
The Lady Flames typically perform well in five-set conference matches, as they have now won five straight five-set matches against Big South opponents.
Heading Toward a Milestone
Senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon currently sits at 940 career kills and 1,318 career digs, and she needs 60 more kills to become the ninth player in Liberty history to be a member of the 1,000/1,000 club with more than 1,000 career digs and kills. Bacon recorded a career-high 23 kills against West Virginia on Sept. 17 in Fullerton, Calif. In addition, her 281 kills in 2010 are already a career-high for one season.
Bacon is also among the Big South leaders, as she ranks second with 11 double-doubles and 4.16 kills per set.
Haseman's a Head Honcho
Kelly Haseman, who has ranked as high as 12th nationally with 5.53 digs per set, recorded 30-plus digs in three straight matches (Sept. 14-17 vs. James Madison, UC Irvine and West Virginia), making her the first Lady Flame in history to accomplish the feat. She is also the second player in program history to post 30 or more digs in three matches in a single season, following Theresa Bream, who recorded five 30-plus dig matches during the 1990 season.
The Lady Flames have recorded four matches with double-digit aces this season, highlighted by 12 aces in matches against Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian College over the weekend. The last time Liberty notched 12 team service aces in a match was in a 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb on Nov. 21, 2008, in the first round of the Big South Conference Championships in Asheville, N.C. Liberty only had three double-digit ace performances in the entire 2009 season.
The Lady Flames are ranked 33rd in the nation as a team for most service aces.
Karyl Bacon has been named to all four all-tournament teams this season, making the mark at the ECU Classic, the UVA Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup, the Elon Phoenix Classic and most recently, the Cal State Fullerton 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.
Pacing the Big South
The Lady Flames are leading the Big South with a 12-6 overall record, and are one of two Big South teams with an overall winning record. Additionally, the Lady Flames and the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville are the only two Big South teams currently undefeated in conference play (Liberty is 3-0, UNC Asheville is 2-0).
As a team, the Lady Flames lead the conference in kills (811), assists (746) and service aces (107). Liberty ranks second with a .220 attack percentage, behind UNC Asheville (.229).
Individually, Kelly Haseman leads all Big South players with 5.27 digs per set, while Jade Craycraft ranks first with 0.43 service aces per set and third with 9.70 assists per set. Craycraft remains the only Big South freshman to rank in the top five in two different statistical categories.
Other notable Lady Flames are Loren Thomas (No. 6 with a .266 attack percentage), Erica Manor (No. 3 with 0.40 aces per set) and Lillie Happel (seventh with 0.32 aces per set).
Scouting the Competition
Winthrop (5-10, 2-1 Big South)
The Eagles have won two matches in a row after defeating Charleston Southern Tuesday night, and Radford on Sept. 25. Both wins were 3-0 sweeps.
Middle hitter Becca Toor has posted 241 kills and a .301 attack percentage through 15 matches, while fellow middle hitter Sara Felts leads all Big South players with 1.18 blocks per set. As a team, the Eagles lead the conference in blocks (2.27 per set) and digs (16.30 per set).
Liberty is 24-15 all-time against Winthrop, and the Lady Flames have won the last six meetings. That streak started on Oct. 27, 2007, when Liberty swept Winthrop at the Vines Center, snapping the Eagles' 63-match Big South win streak.
The Eagles last beat Liberty on Sept. 29, 2007, in Rock, Hill, S.C., by a score of 3-1. Winthrop hasn't beaten Liberty at the Vines Center since Nov. 3, 2006, when the Eagles took a 3-1 victory from host Liberty.
Collectively, Liberty and Winthrop have won 10 out of the last 13 Big South titles (five each).
Charleston Southern (6-11, 1-3 Big South)
The Buccaneers are on a three-match skid after falling to Winthrop, 3-0, Tuesday night.
Charleston Southern is led by big gun Amanda Hill, a senior outside hitter who was a member of the 2009 Big South All-Conference first team. In the Buccaneers' win over Radford on Sept. 25, Hill became the 10th player in Big South history to record 1,600 career kills. She currently ranks first in the Big South and ninth in the nation, averaging 4.70 kills per set.
Liberty is 30-4 all-time against Charleston Southern, and won all three matches against the Bucs last season. The last meeting came on Nov. 20, 2009, as part of the Big South Championship, when the Lady Flames claimed a 3-2 decision in the second round.
Liberty has won the last seven meetings between the two squads, and the Lady Flames have gone 14-0 against the Bucs at the Vines Center since 1996.
Liberty's last loss to Charleston Southern came on Oct. 21, 2006, a 0-3 decision on the road. The Lady Flames haven't dropped a match to the Bucs at home since Oct. 21, 1994, when Charleston Southern picked up a 3-1 win. At that time, current Head Coach Danyel Bellush (then Lonigro) was a sophomore on the Lady Bucs team.