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Volleyball to Face Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville on Weekend

September 27, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty volleyball team heads to North Carolina for a pair of Big South matches, Friday at Gardner-Webb and Saturday at UNC Asheville.

Complete Match Notes

Liberty volleyball returns to the road for a Big South weekend series, at Gardner-Webb on Friday and at UNC Asheville on Saturday. Saturday's match at UNC Asheville, originally scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, will begin at 6 p.m. Liberty (11-4, 1-0 Big South) and Gardner-Webb (6-12, 1-0) are two of three teams (High Point) still unbeaten in Big South play.

The Lady Flames ended the 2011 regular season with a trip to Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville, falling to the Runnin' Bulldogs before downing UNC Asheville, 3-2, Nov. 12 to wrap up their fifth straight Big South regular-season title.

Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames never trailed on Tuesday, sweeping James Madison (26-24, 25-21, 25-23) to extend their winning streak to three matches. Caroline Douglas sent down 10 of her match-high 17 kills during set one. Ansley Gebben helped Liberty close out the match, collecting 10 of her career-high 23 digs in the final set.

Liberty improved its conference-leading hitting percentage to .250, while maintaining the Big South lead with 1.75 aces per set.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and video streaming will be available for both of Liberty's matches this weekend. Live video will be provided, for a small charge, through the Big South Network. Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville's respective athletics media relations departments will provide live stats on Friday and Saturday.

Quick Hits
- Liberty has won its last three matches in a row, including Big South opener vs. Radford.
- The Lady Flames never trailed in 3-0 win over James Madison, Tuesday.
- Ansley Gebben collected a team season-high 23 digs on Tuesday night.
- Loren Thomas leads Big South with a .338 hitting percentage.
- Caroline Douglas led Liberty with 17 kills, Tuesday, her 5th straight 10-kill match.
- The Lady Flames lead the Big South in hitting percentage and service aces.
- Liberty, Gardner-Webb and High Point are only unbeaten Big South teams, at 1-0.
- Liberty was voted first in Big South Preseason coaches' poll. (UNCA - 4th, G-W - 9th).
- The Lady Flames are 14-2 in last 16 five-set matches, including 3-2 this season.
- Liberty is 12-1 all-time against Gardner-Webb, 31-19 versus UNC Asheville.

Wire to Wire
On Tuesday, the Lady Flames downed James Madison, 3-0. Although the match was decided by a total of eight points (26-24, 25-21, 25-23), Liberty never trailed at any point during the match. The last time the Lady Flames went through a whole match without trailing was Sept. 9, 2011, a 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-10) win over Rider.

Fast Start
Caroline Douglas recorded 10 of her match high-tying 17 kills during set one against James Madison. The last time a Lady Flame had 10 kills during a single set was Lillie Happel, with 10 kills of her career-high 25 kills coming in set three versus Seton Hall, Sept. 2, 2011.

Close to the Finish
Ansley Gebben recorded nine kills and a career-high 23 digs on Tuesday against James Madison. Her 23 digs were the most by a Lady Flame this season, and most for a Liberty player in a three-set match since Kelly Haseman collected 25 digs versus Delaware on Nov. 27, 2009.

Gebben collected 10 digs in set three against JMU, the most digs in a single set for a Lady Flame since Haseman had 10 digs during set two at Penn State, Dec. 2, 2011.

Blocking the Competition
Liberty held a 7-1 advantage in blocks over James Madison, with Kendle Rollins assisting on six out of the Lady Flames' seven blocks. Rollins is averaging 1.60 blocks per set over Liberty's last four matches, and now leads them team with 57 blocks on the season. Loren Thomas, last year's conference blocks leader, has 56 blocks this year.

The Lady Flames have won the blocking battle during each of their last 10 matches, and 12 times overall this season. Liberty is 9-3 when outblocking an opponent in 2012.

Acing the Test
Entering this week, Liberty ranked No. 8 nationally in aces per set, on the NCAA Division I statistical rankings. The team currently leads the Big South with 1.75 aces per set, paced by Becca Haraf's 20 aces and 15 each from Jade Craycraft, Kendle Rollins and Gabrielle Shipe. A total of six Lady Flames have reached double figures in aces so far this season.

Double-Double
Junior setter Jade Craycraft totaled 34 assists and 10 digs during Liberty's 3-0 win over James Madison, Tuesday. It marked her third double-double this season, and 17th career double-double.

Craycraft leads the Lady Flames with three double-doubles this season, followed by Lillie Happel with two. The last Liberty setter to lead Liberty in double-doubles was Kallie Corbin, who recorded seven double-doubles in 2008. 

Leading the Pack
At present, the Lady Flames sit atop the Big South statistical charts in both hitting percentage (.250) and aces per set (1.75).

Loren Thomas (.336) leads the conference in attack percentage. Redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas paces the Big South in kills per set (3.25) and is fourth in attack percentage (.308). Douglas is the only Big South freshman to rank in the top 10 in either category.

Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb
All-Time Series:
Liberty leads, 12-1
Current Series Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Gardner-Webb 1 (Nov. 17, 2011 - Big South Quarterfinal)

Gardner-Webb (6-12, 1-0 Big South) opened up conference play with a 3-1 win over UNC Asheville last Friday, and downed USC Upstate, 3-1, in its most recent match on Tuesday. Tyler Cockrell leads the Runnin' Bulldogs in kills per set (2.48), blocks per set (0.84) and attack percentage (.277). Heather Feldman paces Gardner-Webb with 9.20 assists per set, while Anna Pashkova leads the team with 3.85 digs per set.

Second-year head coach Leo Sayles holds a 16-32 record at Gardner-Webb after going 153-111 during seven years at Bryan College.

Liberty leads the all-time series over the Runnin' Bulldogs, 12-1, winning the first 11 meetings. During each of Gardner-Webb's first four seasons in the Big South, Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb in the Big South tournament's opening round.

The Lady Flames went 2-1 versus Gardner-Webb last year, starting with a 3-2 win on Oct. 1 at the Vines Center. The Runnin' Bulldogs swept Liberty, Nov. 11, 2011 at Paul Porter Arena for their first win all-time over Liberty. Liberty won the teams' most recent meeting, 3-1, on Nov. 17, 2011 in the conference quarterfinals.

Liberty vs. UNC Asheville
All-Time Series:
Liberty leads, 31-19
Current Series Streak: Liberty W5
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, UNC Asheville 0 (Nov. 18, 2011 - Big South Semifinal)

UNC Asheville brings a 4-13 record, 0-1 in conference play, into the weekend, which begins for the Bulldogs with a Friday match against Radford. 2011 Big South All-Tournament team member Holly Shelton ranks fifth in the Big South, with 2.85 kills per set. Returning all-conference performer Anna Moore is eighth with 2.46 kills per set. Moore paces the Bulldogs with 0.97 blocks per set, while Alex Stewart has averages a team-leading 3.18 digs per set and Katie Davis dishes out 8.38 assists per set.

Second-year head coach Frederico Santos is 17-27 at UNC Asheville following three seasons during which he led Barry to a 46-31 record.

Liberty leads UNC Asheville, 31-19, in the all-time series, including 12-8 under Pinder. The Lady Flames went 3-0 against the Bulldogs last year, and have won five straight matches in the series since a 3-1 UNC Asheville win, Nov. 6, 2009 in Lynchburg.

Liberty downed UNC Asheville, 3-2, Nov. 12 in last year's regular-season finale to clinch the Big South regular-season title. One week later, Liberty swept the Bulldogs behind a .430 team hitting percentage in the Big South Volleyball Championship semifinals.

Dig In
In each of Liberty's last two matches, the Lady Flames faced a team ranked in the top 35 in the nation in digs per set. During both contests, Liberty posted more digs than its opponent.

On Friday, Radford entered its match against Liberty rated No. 33 in the nation in digs, but the Lady Flames outdug the Highlanders, 53-46. Tuesday, the Lady Flames held a 68-65 advantage in digs over James Madison, who was No. 21 on the national digs list.