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Lady Flames to Close Out Non-Conference Play at VCU, Wednesday

October 2, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty volleyball team heads to Richmond for a Wednesday night match, starting a stretch of three contests in four days.

Complete Match Notes

The Liberty volleyball team closes out the non-conference portion of its 2012 schedule on Wednesday night in Richmond, taking on VCU at 7 p.m. As is the case for Liberty (12-5), VCU has won eight straight home matches, dating back to October 2011. The Rams (14-3) were the last visiting team to win inside the Vines Center, while Delaware downed VCU, Oct. 14, 2011 in the Rams' last home setback.

The Lady Flames, the preseason Big South favorites, are off to a 2-1 start in conference play. VCU is 2-2 so far during its first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Liberty at a Glance
Liberty enters Wednesday's contest following a 2-1 week that included 3-0 wins over James Madison and Gardner-Webb and ended with a 3-2 setback at UNC Asheville. Caroline Douglas recorded 17 kills during each match, and was named Big South Freshman of the Week for her efforts.

The Lady Flames lead the Big South in hitting percentage (.252) and aces (1.67).

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and video streaming will be available for Wednesday night's match between Liberty and VCU. Live video will be provided, for a small charge, through the VCU Athletics Video Channel. VCU's athletics communications office will provide live stats free of charge.

Quick Hits
- Liberty competes against VCU in its last regular-season non-conference match in 2012.
- Caroline Douglas was named Big South Freshman of the Week, Monday.
- Prior to Saturday, Liberty had won 15 straight five-set matches against Big South teams.
- Liberty has led each of its last four opponents in digs (Radford - 31st in NCAA; JMU - 21)
- Five Lady Flames had at least one double-digit dig match last week.
- Liberty hit .376 during sweep of Gardner-Webb, Friday (second-best team pct. this year).
- The Lady Flames lead the Big South in hitting percentage and service aces.
- Liberty was voted first in Big South Preseason coaches' poll.
- Loren Thomas was named 2012 Big South Preseason Player of the Year.
- All-time series is tied at 13-13, but VCU has won last six meetings in a row.
- Liberty's last win over VCU came Oct. 26, 2004 (Coach Pinder's 1st year as head coach).

Douglas Named Big South Player of the Week
Caroline Douglas was named Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday, her second Freshman of the Week honor this year, also earning the award on Aug. 27.

Douglas led the Lady Flames to a 2-1 week, posting 17 kills each in 3-0 sweeps of James Madison and Gardner-Webb, along with a 3-2 setback at UNC Asheville.

Douglas, who has reached double figures in kills during each of the last eight matches, is the first Lady Flame since Karyl Bacon in 2010 with three straight 15+ kill matches.

Week in Review
Liberty went 2-1 this past week, sweeping James Madison before splitting a pair of conference road matches.

Last Tuesday, the Lady Flames downed James Madison, 3-0. Although the match was decided by a total of eight points, Liberty never trailed at any point during the match.

On Friday, Liberty swept Gardner-Webb for its fourth straight win, behind a .376 team hitting percentage, led by Caroline Douglas' 17 kills at a .571 pace.

UNC Asheville rallied for a 3-2 win over the Lady Flames on Saturday night, ending Liberty's 15-match winning streak in five-set matches against Big South opponents.

Back-Row Brilliance
Five Lady Flames posted a 10-dig match last week. Ansley Gebben totaled a team season-high 23 digs on Tuesday, and Gabrielle Shipe had 16 digs vs. James Madison and 17 at UNC Asheville. Jade Craycraft had 10 digs against JMU, while Lillie Happel had 13 digs at UNC Asheville and Allie Reynolds had a career-high 14 digs at UNC Asheville.

Block Party
The Lady Flames picked up their blocking game on Saturday night at UNC Asheville, with 11 team blocks, good for the team's sixth 10-block match this season.  Kendle Rollins (one solo, four assisted), Jade Craycraft (one solo, four assisted) and Loren Thomas (three solo, two assisted) all registered five blocks each against the Bulldogs.

Junior setter Jade Craycraft totaled 34 assists and 10 digs during Liberty's 3-0 win over James Madison, last Tuesday. It marked her team-leading fourth double-double this season, and 17th career double-double.
On Saturday night, Lillie Happel tallied 10 kills and 13 digs, giving her three double-doubles this season and 22 for her career.

Efficient on the Attack
Last week, the Lady Flames hit .270 as a team, with each of their top four attackers in terms of kills all hitting over .300. Kendle Rollins attacked at a .447 clip, while Loren Thomas hit .340, Jade Craycraft hit .333 and Caroline Douglas hit .305.

Leading the Pack
At present, the Lady Flames sit atop the Big South statistical charts in both hitting percentage (.252) and aces per set (1.67). Liberty's aces rank 11th in the latest NCAA Division I national statistics listings.

Caroline Douglas paces the Big South in kills per set (3.37) and is fourth in attack percentage (.309). Teammate Loren Thomas is second in the league with a .332 hitting percentage, while Gabrielle Shipe is third with 3.75 digs per set.

Liberty vs. VCU
All-Time Series:
Tied, 13-13
Current Series Streak: VCU W6
Last Meeting: VCU 3, Liberty 0 (Oct. 11, 2011 - Lynchburg, Va.)

First-year Atlantic 10 member VCU (14-3, 2-2 A-10) entered conference play with a 12-1 record before splitting its first four A-10 matches. The Rams lead the conference and rank sixth nationally with 3.07 blocks per set, and rank second in the league in both hitting percentage (.243) and opponents' hitting percentage (.158).  VCU is 3-0 against Gardner-Webb, Virginia and Georgetown this year, while Liberty is 2-1 versus those teams.

Freshman Martina Samadan, two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, leads the conference and ranks 12th in the nation with 1.48 blocks per set. Samadan is third in the A-10 with a .360 hitting percentage. Jasmine Waters is fourth in the A-10 with 1.16 blocks per set and 6th in hitting percentage, at .346. 2011 All-CAA second team member Kristin Boyd paces the team with 2.76 kills per set. Cecilia Aragao averages a team-leading 9.79 assists per set, while Amanda Love averages 3.51 digs per set.

Coaching Matchup
VCU Head Coach/Record:
James Finley (8th Year)/140-113
- Finley led VCU to the NCAA Tournament during his first year, 2005, helping team to a 16-win improvement over 2004. He guided the team to a 27-9 record in 2009.

Liberty Head Coach/Record: Shane Pinder (9th Year)/161-118
- Pinder has led the Lady Flames to five straight 20-win seasons, five straight Big South regular-season titles, and three NCAA Tournament appearances overall.

Series History
The volleyball series between Liberty and VCU is tied, 13-13. The Rams have won each of the last six meetings. Liberty's last win over VCU occurred Oct. 26, 2004 in the Vines Center, during Pinder's first season as Liberty's head coach. Current Liberty assistant coach Jennifer Vaden posted 22 kills and 11 digs for the Lady Flames that night.

Last Meeting - Liberty vs. VCU
VCU swept Liberty (25-21, 25-15, 25-22) on Oct. 11, 2011 in the Vines Center, stopping the Lady Flames' 12-match home winning streak. Liberty has won eight straight home matches since last year's loss to VCU.
The Lady Flames hit a season-low .032, while VCU had a .216 attack percentage. VCU's Courtney Hott and Kristin Boyd led all players, with nine kills apiece, while Loren Thomas paced the Lady Flames with eight kills.

Commonwealth of Success
Liberty plays its next three matches inside Virginia, starting Wednesday at VCU. The Lady Flames are 3-2 inside the Commonwealth of Virginia this season, and 25-6 in their home state since the start of the 2010 season. Overall, Liberty is 90-46 in matches played in Virginia under Pinder.

In total, the Lady Flames compete in Virginia 13 times this season, including nine home matches, and trips to Charlottesville, VCU and Radford.