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Lady Flames to Host Liberty Invitational

September 7, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sophmore outside hitter Lillie Happel has been named all-tournament at each of the first two invitationals this season, and currently leads the Big South in kills per set.

Complete Invitational Notes

Liberty volleyball opens the 2011 home slate by playing host to the four-team Liberty Invitational presented by Pepsi, Friday and Saturday at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames welcome Rider of the MAAC, the NEC's Saint Francis (Pa.), and CSU Bakersfield.

The invitational opens with Liberty taking on Rider at 2:30 on Friday, and concludes Saturday when CSU Bakersfield and the host Lady Flames square off at 2:30.

Liberty Invitational presented by Pepsi Schedule
Lynchburg, Va. (Vines Center)

Friday, Sept. 9
Rider at Liberty, 2:30 p.m. 
Live Stats  Live Video
Saint Francis (Pa.) vs. CSU Bakersfield, 5 p.m.  Live Stats
Saint Francis (Pa.) at Liberty, 7:30 p.m.  Live Stats  Live Video

Saturday, Sept. 10
Rider vs. CSU Bakersfield, 9 a.m.  Live Stats
Rider vs. Saint Francis (Pa.), noon  Live Stats
CSU Bakersfield at Liberty, 2:30 p.m.  Live Stats

Welcome Home
The Lady Flames have been dominant at the Vines Center, with a 37-7 home record over the past four seasons. In total, the Lady Flames are 52-22 in home matches under eighth-year head coach Shane Pinder, and 84-30 in the last 10 seasons. The team is 5-2 in home openers under Pinder, and 15-8 in the initial home match of the season in the NCAA Division I era.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Friday's matches featuring Liberty can be viewed through live video streaming via the Flames Sports Network and the Big South Network. Ray Jones will provide play-by-play, with Erin McKeown serving as the color analyst and Brandon Pickett as halftime host. Live stats for all matches can be accessed through links on LibertyFlames.com.

Quarter-Century Kills
Lillie Happel recorded a career-high 25 kills Friday against Seton Hall, the first 25-kill match for a Big South player this season. She is the first Lady Flame to register 25 kills in a match since Nicki Scripko sent down 25 kills Nov. 20, 2009 vs. Charleston Southern.

Happel is also the sixth Liberty player to total 25 or more kills in a match since 2001. She joins current assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden, current director of compliance Erin McKeown, Nicki Scripko, Rachel Harnack and Summer Elmquist on the list. Harnack posted a Liberty rally-scoring-record 40 kills Nov. 10, 2001 at Coastal Carolina.

Moving On Up
Last weekend's Holiday Inn West Invitational in Kalamazoo, Mich., gave senior Kelly Haseman, a native of nearby Three Rivers, a chance to play at University Arena in front of a large group of family and friends. She excelled, registering 59 digs over three matches.

On Friday, she posted 19 digs to pass Lara Bartolomeo into fourth all-time at Liberty in digs. Saturday vs. Western Michigan, she added another 19 digs, surpassing the fourth-place total of current assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden. She then collected 20 digs against North Carolina, making her the 10th player in conference history with 1,600 career digs.

All-Tournament Team
Lillie Happel earned all-tournament honors at the Holiday Inn West Invitational after leading all players in kills and recording a double-double against North Carolina. Happel was named to the all-tournament team in the season-opening Hotel Indigo Bulldog Invitational at Georgia. She opened the season with 11 kills against Georgia, making her the first Liberty player to open her first two years with double-digit kills in the rally-scoring era.

Liberty Invitational History
This weekend's tournament will be the 13th time Liberty has hosted an in-season invitational, and the first since 2009. The Lady Flames are 25-13 all-time at home invitationals. They won nine straight matches at the event from 1995-98, including a perfect 4-0 mark in 1996 and a 3-0 ledger in 1997.

Coach Pinder's first collegiate coaching win came in his first home match as head coach at Liberty, a 3-0 win over Davidson Sept. 17, 2004, the opening contest of the 2004 Liberty Invitational. Pinder is 5-4 coaching matches played at the Liberty Invitational, as the team claimed second place in 2007 and 2009.

Liberty vs. Rider
Rider enters the weekend with a 2-5 record, most recently falling to Temple, 3-0 on Tuesday. The Broncs won their season opener versus Saint Francis (N.Y.) Aug. 26, and snapped a four-match winless streak with a victory over Saint Peter's last Saturday.

The Broncs are led by Kayla Wong and her 3.04 kills per set. Stephanie Nagy has posted a .367 hitting percentage and 0.96 blocks per set as a middle blocker. Shelbie Stannard leads Rider in digs at 3.07 per set, while setter Ashlee Amatulli paces the team with eight aces.

Christopher Feliciano is in his first season as head coach at Rider after spending one season as an assistant coach at Fordham. He posted a 117-28 record at New Jersey City University from 2002-07. Feliciano and Coach Pinder meet for the first time Friday.

Liberty has not faced Rider in volleyball prior to this weekend. The Lady Flames are 4-1 all-time against teams currently in the MAAC, with a 3-2 win over Fairfield Sept. 7, 2001 serving as the last meeting between Liberty and a MAAC institution in volleyball.

Liberty vs. Saint Francis (Pa.)
Saint Francis (Pa.) brings a 2-6 record into the Liberty Invitational, having beaten Delaware State in five sets on Tuesday for its second win of the campaign.

The Red Flash is led by 2010 All-NEC second team selection Lauren Wingard, who paces the team in kills per set (2.75) and hitting percentage (.321). Elizabeth Williams provides another hitting option, with 2.14 kills per set and a .279 attack percentage. Breanna Kochinsky leads the Red Flash with 3.29 digs per set. 

Liberty defeated Saint Francis, 3-0, on Sept. 5, 2008 at George Mason in the teams' only meeting. The Lady Flames hit a program-record .483 for the match, Liberty's fourth win in a row on the way to a school-best 8-0 start.

SFU fourth-year head coach Chuck Mullen led the Red Flash to the NEC final match in 2008, while Mullen is 0-1 against Pinder-coached Liberty teams.

Liberty is 4-2 all-time against 2011 members of the NEC, including 1-0 against SFU. Friday's match will mark the first time Liberty volleyball has hosted an NEC program.

Liberty vs. CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield (1-5) posted its initial win under first-year head coach Jolene Shepardson on Sunday, a 3-0 win over Seattle at the Oregon State Active Ankle Challenge. The Roadrunners went 0-31 in 2010, their first season of full NCAA Division I eligibility.

Top returnee Haleigh Haratyk has posted 4.61 kills per set, hitting .268 as a sophomore outside hitter. Tika Smith and Saelina Dunn add 2.06 kills per set apiece. Lauren Holderman leads the team with 3.00 digs per set.

Shepardson and her husband, assistant coach Aaron Shepardson, are in their first year coaching at CSU Bakersfield. They are familiar with the Big South, as the Shepardsons both served on the Winthrop coaching staff in the 2005 season.

The Lady Flames are 1-11 all-time against Division I opponents from the state of California, with their lone win coming Sept. 21, 2008 vs. UC Irvine in South Bend, Ind. Saturday's match will be the first time Liberty volleyball has hosted a team from California.