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Happel, Thomas Garner Big South Weekly Honors
Liberty sophomore outside hitter Lillie Happel has been named Big South Choice Hotels Volleyball Player of the Week, and junior middle blocker Loren Thomas repeated as Big South Defensive Player of the Week, for the week ending Oct. 2.
Happel, the Big South leader in kills per set, earns her second Big South Player of the Week award of the season, and third for her career. She was also named conference player of the week Nov. 15, 2010 and Sept. 12, 2011.
Thomas paces the conference in blocks this season, and has been tabbed the Big South's top defensive player for the second week in a row. She is the first player to earn back-to-back Big South Defensive Player of the Week awards since the 2009 season.
An Ellicott City, Md., native, Happel posted double-doubles in both matches this past week, averaging 4.25 kills and 3.0 digs per set. She registered 12 kills, 11 digs, two service aces and two blocks during Liberty's 3-0 victory over UNC Asheville Friday. She then sent down a match-high 22 kills, hitting a career-best .426, while also leading the team with 13 digs, helping Liberty to a 3-2 win against Gardner-Webb Saturday.
Happel has now recorded double-doubles in each of the last four matches. Additionally, she recorded the 500th kill of her career on Saturday, becoming the first Lady Flame since Nicki Scripko in 2008 to earn her 500th career kill as a sophomore.
Thomas, a native of Ocoee, Fla., surged into the Big South lead in blocks with another standout defensive weekend. She registered 12 total blocks during the pair of wins, good for a 1.50 blocks per set average. The junior opened the weekend with five block assists Friday, as Liberty defeated UNC Asheville, 3-0. She added one solo block and six block assists in the Lady Flames' 3-2 win Saturday over Gardner-Webb.
Thomas continues to move up on the career blocks list at Liberty, and currently ranks ninth at Liberty with 269 career blocks.
The Lady Flames (8-9, 3-0 Big South), currently tied with Winthrop for the Big South lead, head to North Carolina this week for two conference matches. Liberty plays at High Point Friday at 7 p.m., in a rematch of the 2010 Big South Championship final, before taking on new conference member Campbell Saturday at 5 p.m.