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LU to Host High Point in Battle for First Place
The Liberty Lady Flames will host the Panthers of High Point to determine the No. 1 team in the Big South Conference standings, tomorrow night, at 7 p.m. in the Vines Center.
Both teams are 7-1 in conference play, and both squads are riding winning streaks. Liberty is on a four-match winning streak, its longest of the season, while High Point has won five contests in a row.
Both teams will commemorate "Dig Pink," which is a program that aims to raise breast cancer awareness.
Dig Pink is a national volleyball initiative, designed to raise breast cancer awareness. Both Liberty and High Point will be participating in Tuesday evening's event by wearing pink articles of clothing. The Lady Flames will sport pink warm-up shirts, socks and shoelaces. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to Tuesday's match as well.
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.
In addition, live stats 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
Aside from their 7-1 conference mark, the Lady Flames are 16-7 overall in 2010, reaching 16 overall wins for the fourth consecutive year.
Liberty has maintained control in several statistical categories, outperforming its opponents in kills (1,134 to 984), hitting percentage (.237 to .181), assists (1,044 to 921), service aces (137 to 66), digs (1,227 to 1,182) and blocks (169.5 to 143).
The four-match Liberty streak is the team's longest winning streak in 2010. The Lady Flames won three in a row early in the season, posting consecutive victories over Charlotte, East Carolina and George Washington, and then won three straight to kick off conference play, defeating Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian College and High Point over a five-day span starting on Sept. 24.
The last time the Lady Flames won four matches in a row was in 2009, when Liberty won five straight from Nov. 7 – Nov. 20. During the span, Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb, High Point and Charleston Southern to close out the regular season, before defeating Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern in the Big South Championship.
Liberty is now 7-1 in conference play, becoming the eighth squad in program history to win seven out of the first eight conference matches of the season. Liberty has fared well in conference matches on the road, going 4-0 so far. Its only conference loss came on Oct. 1, as a 3-1 setback to Winthrop at the Vines Center.
1,000/1,000 Club Welcomes New Member
Senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon achieved a milestone Saturday, as her 18 kills against UNC Asheville pushed her past the 1,000 kill mark for her career. Bacon became the ninth player in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs, as she now sits at 1,011 kills and 1,371 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).
Career Highs All Around
Saturday marked a day of career highs for the Lady Flames. Aside from Bacon's 1,000th career kill, two other Liberty players put up career numbers. Hannah Anderson recorded a career high 14 kills, while freshman setter Jade Craycraft notched a career-high 57 assists.
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 440 digs on the season, Haseman is approaching the single-season top five list for most digs in a season. She needs 70 more digs to surpass Nikki Keznor in the fifth-place spot (1993). Haseman now has recorded exactly 1,000 digs since the beginning of the 2009 season.
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.
Strong at the Service Line
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 have posted at least four aces in each of the last five matches.
The Lady Flames are out-blocking their opponents, 169.5 to 143. Kendle Rollins tied a career-high with seven blocks against UNC Asheville on Saturday, and also posted a career-high three solo blocks. As a team, Liberty has tallied 12 total blocks in each of the last two matches.
Big South Leaders
While the Lady Flames lead the Big South in overall record and are tied for first in the conference standings, the team has also consistently ranked first in four out of seven statistical categories: kills (13.50 per set), hitting percentage (.237), assists (12.43 per set) and aces (1.63 per set).
Several Lady Flames also rank at the top of the Big South. Karyl Bacon is No. 2 with 4.19 kills per set, and Kelly Haseman leads all Big South players with 5.24 digs per set. Jade Craycraft ranks in the top five in both aces (No. 2, 0.38 per set) and assists (No. 2, 10.14 per set).
Loren Thomas and Kendle Rollins are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in overall hitting percentage. Thomas has tallied a .305 attack percentage, while Rollins sits at .292.
In conference matches, Liberty leads all Big South teams with a .281 hitting percentage and 1.86 aces per set, and is tied with High Point for first with 14.41 kills per set.
Crazy for Kills
The Lady Flames' attack system has been shining as of late, as the team has recorded 40+ kills in the last seven matches. The team's season-high was 70 kills in a 3-1 loss to Winthrop on Oct. 1. Additionally, the squad has hit .300 or better in three out of the last four matches.
They Work Quickly
The Lady Flames are undefeated (4-0) in three-set matches against conference opponents this season, 2-1 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.
Scouting the Competition
High Point (12-10, 7-1 Big South)
The Panthers are on a five-match winning streak, picking up conference wins over Coastal Carolina, Radford, Presbyterian College, Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville since Oct. 2. High Point's last loss came from the Lady Flames, who beat the Panthers on their home court, 3-0, on Sept. 28.
In that match, Karyl Bacon led all players with 19 kills, while Loren Thomas posted a .417 attack percentage. Setter Jade Craycraft out-assisted High Point's Maddie Simpson, 38 assists to 36, and Kelly Haseman led all players with 22 digs.
The match was a close one, as there were 22 total tie scores and nine lead changes.
The Panthers are led by Megan Smith, who has posted 322 kills on the year. Simpson has tallied 822 assists and Julie Hershkowitz leads the team with 434 digs on the year.
Liberty will try to end High Point's winning streak for the second time this season, as the Panthers have now won five in a row. When Liberty won the first matchup between the two squads this year, the Panthers had been on a four-match winning streak.
The Lady Flames are 24-5 all-time against the Panthers. The last time the Panthers beat Liberty was on Oct. 13, 2009, in High Point, N.C. (3-1). The Panthers last beat the Lady Flames in the Vines Center on Oct. 14, 2008, by a score of 3-2.