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Six Liberty Squads Garner Big South Sportsmanship Awards

August 31, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty men's cross country, volleyball, women's soccer, men's basketball, men's outdoor track and golf all earned Big South Team Sportsmanship Awards for the 2010-11 season.

Six Liberty teams earned Big South Team Sportsmanship Awards for the 2010-11 athletics year, as announced by the conference office today. The awards are voted upon by the conference's student-athletes. With six sports earning awards, Liberty closed out the 2010-11 season with the most sportsmanship honors of any Big South institution.

Three Liberty fall sports received sportsmanship honors. The men's cross country squad captured the award for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in the last five years. Head coach Brant Tolsma's Flames previously won the award in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and have received the honor more than any other Big South cross country team. Liberty enters this year coming off a season in which it tied a Big South record with its sixth straight Big South title.

The Lady Flames volleyball team, coached by Shane Pinder, becomes the first six-time winner of the Big South Team Sportsmanship Award. Liberty has garnered the distinction every time it has been awarded. For the fourth year in a row, the Lady Flames captured the Big South regular-season title, qualified for the Big South Championship final and posted a 20-win season.

Rounding out Liberty's fall sport award winners, the women's soccer team earned the honor for the third time. The Lady Flames previously received the award in 2005 and 2008, head coach Jessica Hain's first year with the team.

The Liberty men's basketball team was the university's only winter sport to take home a team sportsmanship award, earning the honor for the first time in program history. Last season, the Flames finished No. 2 in the conference regular-season standings with a 13-5 record in Big South play. Liberty's league win total set a new program record for most conference wins in a season.

The Liberty men's golf team garnered its fourth consecutive sportsmanship award, sharing the honor with Gardner-Webb, this year. The program is coming off a banner year with its first-ever Big South title, winning the championship by 31 strokes. Liberty, which made its third trip to the NCAA Regionals following the victory, was led by senior Preston Dembowiak, who won the Big South individual title after shooting an eight-under par 209.

Another Tolsma-coached team was recognized for the spring season, as the men's outdoor track team received its third sportsmanship award. The Flames previously won the award in 2007 and 2008. This past season, Liberty won its 16th Big South men's outdoor track & field title in 18 years.

Altogether, the Liberty men's and women's cross country/track & field programs have now combined to win 16-of-32 Big South Team Sportsmanship Awards Liberty has earned.

VMI was named the Big South Conference's Institutional Sportsmanship Award winner for the 2010-11 season.  An institution's sport winners count towards the Institution Sportsmanship Award and the winner is determined on a system recognizing the highest percentage of the maximum possible points each institution is capable of achieving in that year.

VMI, which was honored with four team sportsmanship awards in 2010-11 and finished as the runner-up in an additional four sports, was tops among the Big South membership with a 39.27 percentage of the maximum points received in its sponsored League sports. Liberty finished second with a 34.00 percentage, followed by Gardner-Webb at 28.27 percent.

2010-11 Big South Team Sportsmanship Award Winners
Baseball: VMI, Presbyterian College
Men's Basketball: Liberty
Women's Basketball: UNC Asheville
Men's Cross Country: Liberty
Women's Cross Country: VMI
Football: VMI
Men's Golf: Gardner-Webb, Liberty
Women's Golf: Gardner-Webb
Men's Indoor Track: VMI
Women's Indoor Track: Coastal Carolina, Radford
Men's Outdoor Track: Liberty
Women's Outdoor Track: Gardner-Webb
Men's Soccer: UNC Asheville
Women's Soccer: Liberty
Softball: Gardner-Webb, Winthrop
Men's Tennis: Presbyterian College
Women's Tennis: Radford
Volleyball: Liberty