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Lady Flames to Welcome Blue Hose, Bulldogs for Weekend Tilts
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Presbyterian College
Live Video – Liberty vs. Presbyterian College
Live Stats – Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb
Live Video – Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb
As the regular season begins winding down, the Lady Flames will host Presbyterian College and Gardner-Webb this weekend at the Vines Center for two Big South volleyball matchups. Liberty will take on the Blue Hose Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. contest against the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
Liberty has defeated both teams this season, sweeping Gardner-Webb, 3-0, in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Sept. 24, to open 2010 conference play. The Lady Flames edged the Blue Hose the following day in Clinton, S.C., 3-2, to win their first five-set match of the season.
Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
This weekend's matches 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 for each match 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
After defeating High Point, 3-1, Tuesday night, the Lady Flames now hold sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the Big South Conference standings. Liberty is 17-7 overall and 8-1 in conference play.
Liberty has now won five matches in a row, the team's longest winning streak of the season.
The last time the Lady Flames won five 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 8-1 in conference play, becoming the sixth squad in program history to win eight out of the first nine conference matches of the season. The Lady Flames had not done so since the 2007 campaign.
In addition, Liberty has won at least 17 matches overall for the last three seasons.
1,000/1,000 Club Welcomes New Member
Senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon achieved a milestone last weekend, 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 1,023 kills and 1,379 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).
Spearheaded by freshman setter Jade Craycraft, the Lady Flames have posted more than 40 assists in each of the last eight matches. The team recorded a season-high 66 assists against Winthrop on Oct. 1 at the Vines Center.
Redshirt freshman Kendle Rollins, a middle blocker, has really stepped up her blocking game lately, tying a career-high seven blocks in each of the last two matches. She originally set the career number on Sept. 18 against Penn. She also accounted for a season-high 18 points in the 3-1 win over UNC Asheville on Oct. 16.
Rollins has tallied 85 total blocks on the season, leading the team.
Career Highs All Around
Last Saturday's 3-1 win over UNC Asheville 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.
In Tuesday's key win over visiting High Point, the Lady Flames hit an impressive .520 in the first set and posted a .520 attack percentage in the second frame. Overall, Liberty hit .320 for the match and held the Panthers to just .057.
The Lady Flames have hit above .300 in nine matches this season, and have been victorious in each contest doing so.
Five Lady Flames had seven or more kills against High Point on Tuesday, marking the fifth time that has happened for Liberty this season. Five players also recorded seven or more kills against Charlotte, North Florida, Yale, and UNC Asheville. Liberty was victorious in each of those contests.
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 449 digs, Haseman is approaching the single-season top five list for most digs in a season. She needs 61 more digs to surpass Nikki Keznor in the fifth-place spot (1993). Haseman now has recorded 1,009 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.
A High-Five for Happel
Freshman outside hitter Lillie Happel has risen to the occasion in the last two matches, hitting .300 against UNC Asheville and .348 against High Point. She also tallied four blocks in each match, including one solo block in each contest.
And Introducing Anderson…
Hannah Anderson has also shown some sparkle as of late, hitting .462 against UNC Asheville and a whopping .562 against High Point. The sophomore right-side hitter has also reached double digits in kills in the last two matches, including her career-high 14 against UNC Asheville last weekend. Against High Point on Tuesday, Anderson posted three service aces.
Thomas Stays Steady
Middle blocker Loren Thomas has shown impressive consistency, hitting over .300 for the last nine straight matches. She hit over .400 on three of those occasions, including a .500 performance against Winthrop on Oct. 1. She has also contributed 11 blocks over the last three contests.
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. Liberty has nearly doubled up on opponents in service aces this year, 141-71.
The Lady Flames have posted at least four aces in each of the last six matches.
Excellent in Even Sets
The Lady Flames have fared well in even-numbered sets this season, winning Set 2 in 19 out of 24 matches this year, and taking Set 4 in 10 out of 13 matches.
The Lady Flames are out-blocking their opponents, 179.5 to 147. 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 double digits in total blocks in each of the last three matches.
Big South Leaders
While the Lady Flames lead the Big South in the standings, the team has also consistently ranked first in four out of seven statistical categories: kills (13.43 per set), hitting percentage (.240), assists (12.39 per set) and aces (1.60 per set).
Several Lady Flames also rank at the top of the Big South. Karyl Bacon is No. 2 with 4.14 kills per set, and Kelly Haseman leads all Big South players with 5.10 digs per set. Jade Craycraft ranks in the top five in both aces (No. 2, 0.36 per set) and assists (No. 2, 10.16 per set).
Loren Thomas and Kendle Rollins are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in overall hitting percentage. Thomas has tallied a .365 attack percentage, while Rollins sits at .292.
In conference matches, Liberty leads all Big South teams with a .285 hitting percentage and 1.76 aces per set. Individually, Thomas ranks No. 3 with a .389 attack percentage against conference opponents, while Rollins is third with 1.33 blocks per set in Big South matches.
Crazy for Kills
The Lady Flames' attack system has been shining as of late, as the team has recorded 40+ kills in the last eight 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 four out of the last five matches.
They Work Quickly
The Lady Flames are undefeated (4-0) in three-set matches against conference opponents this season, 3-1 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 seven out of nine 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
Presbyterian College (10-12, 3-5 Big South)
Liberty had trouble with the Blue Hose during their first meeting of 2010 on Sept. 25, but the Lady Flames prevailed for a 3-2 (25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-9) victory.
Presbyterian College snapped a two-match losing streak with a 3-2 victory over Winthrop on Oct. 16 in Rock Hill, S.C. The Blue Hose had dropped 3-1 decisions to High Point and Charleston Southern before the win.
Outside hitter Presley Mabrey leads the team with 313 kills, while middle blocker Amanda Kettles is No. 1 in the Big South with a .377 overall attack percentage. Setter Kilee Ruppe has recorded 888 assists, while libero Ashley Dunlap has posted 263 digs on the year.
In the Sept. 25 meeting, Mabrey led all players with 21 kills, and the Blue Hose out-blocked the Lady Flames, 12 blocks to 10.5.
Karyl Bacon paced the Lady Flames in the match, recording 15 kills, followed by Lillie Happel with 11. The evenly-matched contest saw both teams hit.203 for the match, but there were only five lead changes throughout the entire match.
The Lady Flames have won six out of seven all-time meetings with the Blue Hose, sweeping both 2009 matches, 3-0, before taking this year's first match, 3-2. The last time Presbyterian College came out on top was on Nov. 8, 2008, when the Blue Hose defeated the visiting Lady Flames, 3-2.
Gardner-Webb (5-18, 0-8 Big South)
The Bulldogs are struggling in conference play, going winless against Big South teams so far. They gave the Eagles of Winthrop a run for their money on Oct. 15, pushing them to five sets before falling, 15-13, in the fifth set.
Gardner-Webb's last triumph came on Oct. 12 as a 3-0 road win over North Carolina A&T. That victory snapped a 10-match losing streak for the Bulldogs.
Outside hitter Molly Rhyne leads Gardner-Webb with 202 kills, while middle blocker Laura Wilcox boasts the highest attack percentage (.256). Setter Evan Moffitt has posted 674 assists, while middle blocker Tyler Cockrell is the reigning Big South Conference Freshman of the Week.
Liberty met Gardner-Webb in its first conference match of 2010 on Sept. 24 in Boiling Springs, N.C., and walked away with a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-9, 25-15). The Lady Flames hit .307 in that match while holding the Bulldogs to .101.
Karyl Bacon led all players with 11 kills, and Jade Craycraft put up 29 assists. Outside hitter Melissa Richie paced Gardner-Webb, recording eight kills. The Lady Flames controlled the entire match, as there were only two tie scores and no lead changes.
Liberty has never dropped a match to Gardner-Webb, claiming all eight meetings between the two squads.