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Liberty to Meet Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern

October 13, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Freshman Gabrielle Shipe posted 10 digs Tuesday against VCU, her fourth 10-dig match out of the last six contests.

Complete Match Notes

Liberty returns to Big South play for the remainder of the regular season, beginning Friday at 7 p.m., as the Lady Flames (9-11, 4-1 Big South) welcome Coastal Carolina (8-13, 2-3) to the Vines Center. On Saturday at 2 p.m., Liberty takes on Charleston Southern (4-16, 1-4).

Liberty and Coastal both look to bounce back from non-conference losses suffered on Tuesday. The Lady Flames' most recent meeting with Coastal Carolina, along with the team's last match against Charleston Southern, ended in a 3-2 Liberty victory.

Liberty at a Glance
Liberty is tied for the Big South lead with Winthrop, as both teams have gone 4-1 in conference matches so far this season. The Lady Flames are 2-0 in Big South home contests in 2011.

The Lady Flames had their 12-match home winning streak halted Tuesday against VCU, as the Rams ended Liberty's third-longest home winning streak since 1989.

Middle blocker Loren Thomas has led Liberty in kills during each of the last two matches, making her the first Liberty middle blocker to pace the Lady Flames in kills in back-to-back matches since Chelaine McCarty did so Sept. 18 and Sept. 22, 2007.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Friday night's match 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. Both of this week's matches will have live stats provided, which can be accessed through links on LibertyFlames.com.

Haseman Claims Program Digs Record
Senior libero Kelly Haseman surpassed Nikki Keznor's (1991-94) career digs total on Saturday, making Haseman the Liberty record holder. Haseman is now sixth all-time on the Big South digs list at 1,758, 76 digs away from entering the top five. She posted 18 digs apiece at High Point and at Campbell this past weekend. Haseman also holds the program rally-scoring record for digs in a season (653 in 2010).

Thomas Blocks the Big South
Junior middle blocker Loren Thomas leads the Big South with 1.74 blocks per set during conference play, recording four five-block matches against league opponents. She has also averaged 2.58 kills per set, hitting at a .265 clip in league matches.

Thomas holds fourth place in Liberty's rally-scoring history with 44 career solo blocks. Current assistant coach Jennifer Vaden posted 65 career solo blocks, leading all Lady Flames since 2001.

Dig In
Liberty has received a total team effort in the back row recently. In the last six matches, seven Lady Flames have posted at least one 10-dig match, led by Lillie Happel and Gabrielle Shipe with four each.

Last season, Kelly Haseman led the Lady Flames in digs every match. This season, six different Lady Flames have paced Liberty in digs during at least one match.

The Lady Flames recorded 70 digs in Saturday's 3-0 win at Campbell. Liberty's 70 digs were the most by the team in a three-set match, since totaling 87 digs Nov. 11, 2008.

At The Top
Liberty ranks first in the Big South and is 46th in the nation with a 2.48 blocks per set average. Loren Thomas ranks second in the conference at 1.24 blocks per set. Lillie Happel is second in the Big South with a 3.62 kills average. Last season, Liberty led the Big South in attack percentage (.229), assists (12.13), kills (13.21), blocks (2.06) and service aces (1.71).

250 and Counting
Friday night's match against Coastal Carolina will be Coach Pinder's 250th match at the helm of the Lady Flames volleyball team. Current Liberty assistant coaches Jennifer Vaden and Becky Rudnick played in Pinder's first match as head coach, Sept. 2, 2004 at UC Irvine. Pinder went 58-67 (.464) in his first 125 matches, and 80-44 (.645) since then.

Home Sweet Home
Liberty has been traditionally dominant at the Vines Center, having recorded an 89-31 record at home since 2001. Starting in 2007, the Lady Flames have posted a 42-8 home record. Overall, Liberty is 57-23 in home matches under head coach Shane Pinder.

Liberty is 29-3 in Big South regular season home matches, dating back to the 2007 season. The team went 7-1 in conference matches inside the Vines Center during each of the last three seasons, and a perfect 6-0 in Big South home matches in 2007.

The Lady Flames' recently-completed 12-match home winning streak was its longest since a 14-match streak spanning the 1998-99 seasons.

Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina brings an 8-13 record, with a 2-3 mark in Big South play, into Friday's match at Liberty, falling at S.C. State Tuesday. The Chanticleers have won their last two conference matches in a row, over High Point and Charleston Southern. Coastal leads the Big South with 1.55 service aces per set, good for 35th in NCAA Division I rankings.

Megan Laffin, a 2011 Preseason All-Big South player, is rated seventh in the Big South with 2.81 kills per set. Erika Lightsey follows with 2.66 kills on average. Katie Martin ranks third in the conference at 0.36 aces per set. Libero Lindsey Gill boasts a 3.58 digs average. Kindra Bailey ranks fifth in the conference in attack percentage, at .279.

Liberty leads the all-time series, 29-17, over Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames have won each of the last 10 regular season meetings with the Chanticleers. Liberty and Coastal met in the Big South final two years in a row, with the Lady Flames winning in 2008 and the Chanticleers prevailing in 2009. The Chanticleers pushed Liberty to the limit in the teams' most recent meeting, Nov. 6, 2010, a 3-2 Lady Flames win inside the Vines Center.

Coach Pinder is 9-6 all-time against Coastal's 13th-year head coach Kristen Bauer, while Bauer is 7-21 in her career versus the Lady Flames. Bauer, the winningest coach in program history, is 218-189 during her 13 seasons at Coastal Carolina.

Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Charleston Southern (4-16, 1-4 Big South) advanced to the Big South semifinal in 2009 and 2010, joining Liberty as the only other team to qualify for the Big South semifinal each of the last two years. This season, the Buccaneers have downed conference opponents Gardner-Webb (in the USC Upstate Invitational) and Campbell entering Friday's match at Radford. The Buccaneers rank fourth in the Big South with a 1.97 blocks per set average.

Redshirt senior setter Amy Nokes is tied for the conference lead with two triple-doubles this season. Freshman Ashley Higginbothem is seventh in the Big South with 3.97 digs per set. Sydney Tracey leads the Bucs attack, totaling 2.14 kills per set. Tracey, Erin LaVenice and Wynter Davis have posted between 58 and 59 blocks each this season.

The Bucs' 15th-year head coach Danyel Bellush has posted 153 wins, four shy of the program wins record. Coach Pinder is 14-1 in his coaching career against Bellush.

Liberty is 32-4 all-time against Charleston Southern, and has won the last seven meetings against the Buccaneers since a 3-0 Charleston Southern win Oct. 21, 2006. Three out of the last four Liberty-Charleston Southern matches have lasted a full five sets, most recently a 3-2 Liberty win Oct. 29, 2010. Charleston Southern has not won in the Vines Center since Oct. 21, 1994, when Bellush played for the Buccaneers.