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Liberty Volleyball Places 4 on All-Conference Team

November 16, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty received the 2011 Big South Volleyball regular-season championship trophy on Wednesday, at a banquet held on the campus of Charleston Southern University.

On the eve of the 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship, the Liberty volleyball team placed four players on the Big South All-Conference team. The announcement came at a banquet held Wednesday night at the Brewer Center on the campus of Charleston Southern University.

Junior middle blocker Loren Thomas and sophomore outside hitter Lillie Happel represent the Lady Flames on the Big South All-Conference first team, while sophomore setter Jade Craycraft and senior libero Kelly Haseman drew second-team mention. Additionally, Haseman was named to the Big South All-Academic Team.

This marks the third year in a row that Liberty has had four players honored on the All-Conference team. However, it is the first time since 2007 that multiple Liberty players have been named first-team all-conference.

The Lady Flames (17-12) also received the Big South regular-season championship trophy for a conference-record fifth season in a row, after going 12-2 in conference play. Liberty shared the regular-season title with Winthrop, but earned the tournament's No. 1 seed by winning the head-to-head tie-breaker with the Eagles.

Becca Toor from Winthrop was named Big South Player of the Year, while Freshman of the Year laurels went to Emma Deininger of Radford. Radford's Marci Jenkins earned Coach of the Year honors, and Evan Moffitt from Gardner-Webb was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Thomas, a native of Ocoee, Fla., earns her initial first-team all-conference award after being named to the second team in 2010. This season, Thomas leads the Big South in blocks per set, at 1.36, while posting a program rally-scoring-record 141 blocks. A three-time Big South Defensive Player of the Week, she registered a Liberty rally-scoring record with 12 blocks Sept. 23 at Radford, and raised the record to 13, Oct. 21 at Winthrop.

Happel, hailing from Ellicott City, Md., finds her name on the all-conference team for the first time. She has been a leader for Liberty's attack, ranking fourth in the Big South with 3.38 kills per set and 11 double-doubles. Happel was named Big South Player of the Week twice this season. The outside hitter played a key role in Liberty's final match of the regular season, scoring 21 kills and collecting a career-high 23 digs in a 3-2 win at UNC Asheville on Saturday.

A Three Rivers, Mich., native, Haseman receives her fourth and fifth career Big South end-of-year honors. She is the first Lady Flame ever to earn mention on the Big South All-Freshman (2008), All-Tournament (2009), All-Conference (2010-11) and All-Academic (2011) teams. A kinesiology major, Haseman holds a 3.5 GPA.

On the court, Haseman has fashioned a record-setting career, as she ranks first all-time at Liberty and fourth in the Big South with 1,920 career digs. During Big South play this season, she is second in the league with a 4.6 digs average.

Craycraft, from Wooster, Ohio, claims her second All-Conference award in as many years as a Lady Flame, after being named Big South Freshman of the Year and second-team all-conference in 2010. This season, she has posted seven double-doubles, including the first assists-blocks double-double of her career, when she had 39 assists and 10 blocks, Sept. 23 at Radford.

The Lady Flames open the 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting Thursday at Noon. Top-seeded Liberty will meet No. 8 seed Gardner-Webb to inaugurate the Big South Championship at the CSU Fieldhouse.

2011 Big South Conference Volleyball Award Winners

First Team All-Conference
Becca Toor, Winthrop
Loren Thomas, Liberty
Stephanie Palmer, Winthrop
Cindi Miller, UNC Asheville
Lillie Happel, Liberty
Emma Deininger, Radford
Rachel Brummitt, Radford

Second Team All-Conference
Presley Mabrey, Presbyterian College
Courtney Johnk, High Point
Annie Kobeski, Campbell
Anna Moore, UNC Asheville
Jade Craycraft, Liberty
Laura Wilcox, Gardner-Webb
Kelly Haseman, Liberty

All-Freshman Team
Emma Deininger, Radford
Rachel Brummitt, Radford
Ashtin Frank, Presbyterian College
Lian Bernett, Coastal Carolina
Heather Feldman, Gardner-Webb
Kristin Heldt, High Point
Rachel Weichecki, Radford

All-Academic Team
Kelsey Campbell, Campbell
Maggie Murphy, Charleston Southern
Lauren Alejo, Coastal Carolina
Evan Moffitt, Gardner-Webb
Molly Barlow, High Point
Kelly Haseman, Liberty
Andrea Barman, Presbyterian College
Leigh Myer, Radford
Hallie Morse, UNC Asheville
Becca Toor, Winthrop

Player of the Year
Becca Toor, Winthrop

Freshman of the Year
Emma Deininger, Radford

Coach of the Year
Marci Jenkins, Radford

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Evan Moffitt, Gardner-Webb