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Liberty to Open Weekend with Dig Pink Match Against PC
Complete Match Notes
The Liberty volleyball team, in a three-way tie atop the Big South standings along with Presbyterian College and Coastal Carolina, hosts the Blue Hose on Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on Winthrop on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Liberty (15-7, 5-2 Big South) split a pair of road matches in South Carolina this past weekend, edging Charleston Southern, 3-2, before falling to Coastal Carolina, 3-1. Presbyterian College (8-14, 5-2) won four straight matches before a 3-2 loss to High Point on Saturday night, while Winthrop (10-11, 4-3) has won two matches in a row.
On Monday, Liberty's Monica Johnson was named Big South Freshman of the Week and teammate Gabrielle Shipe was tabbed Big South Defensive Player of the Week.
Friday's match will serve as Liberty's "Dig Pink" contest, to raise breast cancer awareness. All fans are encouraged to wear pink to the match on Friday to support those affected by breast cancer, as October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for both of this weekend's matches, courtesy of Liberty's athletics communications office. Fans can view Friday's match between Liberty and Presbyterian College through live video streaming, for a small charge, through the Big South Network, with Ray Jones on play-by-play and Erin McKeown as the color analyst.
- Friday night will serve as Liberty's Dig Pink breast cancer awareness match.
- Liberty, Presbyterian and Coastal Carolina are tied for Big South lead, at 5-2.
- Five Big South teams are within one match of the conference lead.
- Liberty set season highs in kills, assists, digs and blocks in 3-2 win at CSU, Friday.
- Monica Johnson was named Big South Freshman of the Week, Monday.
- Gabrielle Shipe was tabbed Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
- Caroline Douglas leads the Big South in kills; Loren Thomas is first in hitting percentage.
- The Lady Flames lead the Big South in hitting percentage and service aces.
- Liberty was voted first in Big South Preseason coaches' poll. (PC - 8th; Winthrop - 3).
- Liberty leads all-time series over PC, 8-1, and is 26-17 all-time versus Winthrop.
Johnson, Shipe Earn Big South Weekly Awards
On Monday, Gabrielle Shipe was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week, while Monica Johnson was named Big South Freshman of the Week.
Shipe, a native of Orlando, Fla., earns her second weekly award after averaging 5.0 digs per set last week. She collected a career-high 29 digs at Charleston Southern, the most digs by a Lady Flame since Kelly Haseman had 35 on Nov. 13, 2010.
Johnson, a Niceville, Fla., product, averaged 2.0 kills per set, hitting .361. She posted career highs with 11 kills and six blocks at CSU, becoming the first Liberty true freshman since Nicki Scripko in 2007 with 10 kills and five blocks in the same match.
The Lady Flames set season highs in kills (65), assists (64), digs (82) and blocks (15.0) during their 3-2 win at Charleston Southern last Friday. Liberty hit .400 in set four and .500 in set five to seal the comeback victory.
Caroline Douglas recorded a career-high 21 kills, hitting .404, while Gabrielle Shipe's 29 digs and Jade Craycraft's 56 assists were also the most by a Lady Flame this season.
Becca Haraf added a career-high 19 digs to aid Liberty's defense, while Kendle Rollins had seven blocks and Loren Thomas and Monica Johnson had six blocks apiece.
On Saturday at Coastal Carolina, two Lady Flames reached milestones in kills. Senior Loren Thomas registered her 900th career kill, while junior Lillie Happel connected for her 800th career kill.
Thomas had 12 kills on Friday at Charleston Southern, while Happel recorded 14 kills on Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
Moving on Up
Loren Thomas ranks ninth all-time in the Big South, and third in program history, with 429 career blocks. Thomas is tied with current assistant coach Jennifer Vaden for the most solo blocks, 65, at Liberty during the rally-scoring era.
Kendle Rollins is now 10th in program history in career blocks, at 272. She is 13 blocks away from passing Chelaine McCarty, who had 284 blocks from 2007-09.
For the second year in a row, Liberty is in a tie for the Big South lead halfway through the conference schedule. Last year, the Lady Flames and Winthrop were tied in first place with 6-1 Big South records before Liberty defeated the Eagles, 3-2, on Oct. 21 to claim sole possession of first place and the tiebreaker in seeding.
On Friday, Liberty opens the second half of the conference slate with Big South co-leader Presbyterian College in what could be a key match in the conference standings.
Liberty vs. Presbyterian College
All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 8-1
Current Series Streak: Liberty W5
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Presbyterian College 0 (Oct. 22, 2011 - Clinton, S.C.)
Conference co-leader Presbyterian College (8-14, 5-2 Big South) had a four-match winning streak snapped on Saturday, with a 3-2 setback to High Point. Presley Mabrey, a 2012 all-conference second team selection, ranks third in the Big South with 3.03 kills per set. Mary Trimpe leads the conference in both aces per set (0.45) and digs per set (4.62), while setter Ashtin Frank is first in the Big South with 10.17 assists per set. Kelly Berryman leads the Blue Hose with 0.98 blocks per set.
Liberty holds an 8-1 record in the all-time series against Presbyterian College, and the Lady Flames have won each of the last five meetings. The Blue Hose posted their only win over Liberty on Nov. 8, 2008 in Clinton, S.C., a 3-2 victory.
Last season, the Lady Flames swept Presbyterian College, 3-0, at the Templeton Center on Oct. 22. The Blue Hose recorded 40 kills, to 28 for the Lady Flames, but PC also recorded 27 attack errors, hitting .106 as Liberty recorded 10 blocks.
Liberty vs. Winthrop
All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 26-17
Current Series Streak: Liberty W2
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Winthrop 2 (Oct. 21, 2011 - Rock Hill, S.C.)
Winthrop (10-11, 4-3) has won its last two conference matches. The Eagles lead the Big South in blocks, at 2.38 per set, while Jennica Mullins is the conference leader with 1.34 blocks per set. Catherine Brusie ranks second in the Big South with 4.34 digs per set. 2012 Big South All-Conference first team setter Stephanie Palmer leads Winthrop in assists and is second on the team in kills (2.24 per set).
Second-year head coach Julie Torbett is 30-19 at Winthrop. She is the Big South's career wins leader, at 334-277 in a 19-year career that began at UNC Asheville (1994-2010).
Liberty is 26-17 all-time against Winthrop, and has won the most recent two meetings. The Lady Flames (184 conference wins) are the winningest program in Big South volleyball history, while Winthrop (180) is second. Liberty has won a conference-record six Big South championships, compared to five for the Eagles.
Liberty won a 3-2 match over the Eagles at Winthrop Coliseum on Oct. 21, 2011, to claim the outright Big South lead from Winthrop. Loren Thomas posted a Liberty rally-scoring-record 13 blocks, helping Liberty hold Winthrop to a .055 hitting percentage.
Home Sweet Home
Liberty has won its last 10 home matches in a row overall, and 17 straight Big South home contests dating to Oct. 2, 2010. The Lady Flames' longest conference home winning streak is 18, lasting from Oct. 15, 1996 through Nov. 9, 1999.
Liberty volleyball has gone 52-8 (.867) at home since the start of the 2007 season. In total, the Lady Flames are 67-23 in home matches under ninth-year head coach Shane Pinder. At present Liberty has won 14 consecutive sets at the Vines Center.