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Lady Flames Hit the Road to Face Bulldogs
Now on a three-match winning streak, the Liberty Lady Flames are back on the road this weekend, facing off against the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Asheville, N.C.
Liberty went 2-0 last week, defending its home court with wins over visiting Radford (3-0) and 2009 Big South Tournament champion Coastal Carolina (3-1).
With a 6-1 conference record, the Lady Flames sit on top of the Big South standings. High Point and Winthrop are tied for second with a 5-1 mark, followed by UNC Asheville, which sits at 5-2 on the year in conference play.
Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
Saturday'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.
In addition, live stats for both matches will be provided by the UNC Asheville 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
Aside from their 6-1 conference mark, the Lady Flames are 15-7 overall in 2010, reaching 15 overall wins for the fourth consecutive year.
Liberty has maintained control in several statistical categories, outperforming its opponents in kills (1,070 to 924), hitting percentage (.233 to .177), assists (983 to 865), service aces (130 to 63), digs (1,167 to 1,126) and blocks (157.5 to 138).
The three-match 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, and then won three in a row to kick off conference play, defeating Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian College and High Point over a five-day span starting on Sept. 24.
Liberty is now 6-1 in conference play, becoming the eighth squad in program history to win six out of the first seven conference matches of the season. Liberty has fared well in conference matches on the road this season, going 3-0 so far.
Is Saturday Her Day?
Senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon needs only seven more kills to become the ninth player in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. She currently sits at 993 career kills and 1,357 digs.
The most recent player to join the elite 1,000/1,000 Club was Jessica Nelson, who played for Liberty from 2004-2008. She ended her career with 1,089 kills and 1,178 digs. Before Nelson, current assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden accomplished the feat, recording 1,789 kills and 1,594 digs in her career (2001-04).
Bacon ranks second in the Big South with five 20-kill matches and is tied for second with 12 double-doubles on the season.
Kelly Haseman, who has ranked as high as 12th nationally in digs per set, currently leads the Big South with 5.31 digs per set (No. 25 in the nation). With 425 digs on the season, Haseman is approaching the single-season top five list for most digs in a season. She needs 85 more digs to surpass Nikki Keznor in the fifth-place spot (1993).
Haseman already made history this season when she 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.
Haseman is also the only player in the Big South to record three 30-plus dig matches this year.
The Lady Flames have recorded four matches with double-digit aces this season, highlighted by 13 aces against Stetson on Sept. 10. Liberty only had three double-digit ace performances in the entire 2009 season.
The Lady Flames are ranked 38th in the nation as a team for most service aces. Freshman Jade Craycraft leads the team with 30 aces, which ranks second in the Big South.
Big South Leaders
While the Lady Flames lead the Big South in conference and overall records, the team also ranks first in four out of seven statistical categories: kills (13.38 per set), hitting percentage (.233), assists (12.29 per set) and aces (1.62 per set).
Several Lady Flames also rank at the top of the Big South. Jade Craycraft ranks in the top five in aces (No. 2, 0.38 per set) and assists (No. 3, 9.94 per set). Haseman leads all conference players with 5.31 digs per set, and Kendle Rollins comes in at No. 5 with a .290 overall hitting percentage.
In conference play, Loren Thomas ranks second with a .417 hitting percentage and Erica Manor is tied for second with 0.44 aces per set.
Hoping for a Switch
The Lady Flames will try to avenge two regular-season losses to the Bulldogs this weekend, who they shared the 2009 regular-season conference title with. UNC Asheville won the first 2009 contest on Oct. 10 in Asheville, 3-1 (30-28, 25-22, 16-25, 25-19) and picked up the second meeting at the Vines Center on Nov. 6, 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20).
Karyl Bacon recorded a double-double in both matches, recording 11 kills and 11 digs on Oct. 10, and posting 10 kills and 15 digs in the second contest. The Liberty attack system was held to a .159 hitting percentage in both meetings.
Controlling Conference Matches
The Lady Flames are hitting .274 against conference opponents this season, and are holding their Big South counterparts to a .167 attack percentage. Behind freshman setter Jade Craycraft, Liberty is out-assisting its Big South opponents, 326-265, and libero Kelly Haseman is contributing to a 335-320 advantage in digs.
They Work Quickly
The Lady Flames are undefeated (4-0) in three-set matches against conference opponents this season, 1-1 in four-set contests and 1-0 in five-setters.
Overall, Liberty has won eight out of 11 three-set matches on the year, and six out of eight contests that ended in four sets.
Liberty hasn't been swept by a Big South opponent since Oct. 21, 2006, when Charleston Southern took a 3-0 win in Charleston, S.C. Since then, the Lady Flames have won 32 straight three-set matches against conference opponents.
Here's to Staying Hot
Liberty went 2-0 on the week last week, defeating Radford (3-0) and Coastal Carolina (3-1) at home. The Lady Flames hit .241 on the week, paced by Kendle Rollins, who recorded a career-high 13 kills in Saturday's win over the Chanticleers. Additionally, freshman Jade Craycraft notched a career-high seven kills and a .778 attack percentage in the sweep over Radford.
Scouting the Competition
UNC Asheville (12-8, 5-2 Big South)
The Bulldogs' two-match winning streak was snapped on Saturday, when they fell to Winthrop on the road, 3-1. UNC Asheville's other conference loss came as a 3-0 loss to High Point on Oct. 2. Liberty will attempt to hand the Bulldogs their first conference loss at home this year.
UNC Asheville is led by junior outside hitter Cindi Miller, who has notched 282 kills and a .218 attack percentage. Miller ranks third in the Big South, averaging 4.03 kills per set. The UNC Asheville defense is paced by freshman middle blocker Meredith Foster (66 blocks) and freshman libero Alex Stewart (278 digs).
The Lady Flames are 26-19 all-time against the Bulldogs, after falling in both regular-season contests last year. Liberty split with UNC Asheville during the 2008 regular season, sweeping the Bulldogs at home on Oct. 11 before dropping a 3-2 decision on Nov. 7 on the road. That same season, the Lady Flames swept the Bulldogs, 3-0, in the second round of the Big South Championships.