(L-R) Jade Vorster and Caroline Douglas were both named to the Preseason All-Big South Volleyball team.
The 2015 Liberty volleyball team has been predicted to finish second in the Big South, according to the coaches' poll, released Tuesday. Additionally, redshirt senior Caroline Douglas and senior Jade Vorster were named to the Preseason All-Big South team.
Reigning Big South champion Coastal Carolina, led by 2014 Big South Player of the Year Leah Hardeman, was voted to repeat as champions. The Chanticleers received seven first-place votes and 97 points. Liberty followed in second place with two first-place votes and 89 points.
Radford, last year's regular-season champion, received one first-place vote and finished in a tie for third with Winthrop with 73 points. High Point appears fifth with 66 points, while Campbell (sixth place, 44 points), Presbyterian (7th, 35), Gardner-Web (8th, 33) UNC Asheville (9th, 22) and Charleston Southern (10th, 18) round out the preseason poll.
The Lady Flames went 23-10 last season, finishing third in Big South play with a 10-4 conference record. Liberty was the second team in NCAA Division I volleyball to reach the 20-win mark, doing so in its 25th match. Head coach Shane Pinder became Liberty's all-time winningest volleyball coach on Oct. 3 at Gardner-Webb, and then became the fourth volleyball head coach in Big South history with 200 or more wins the next day at UNC Asheville.
Douglas, a native of Greenville, N.C., is a two-time all-conference outside hitter. She was named the Big South Player of the Year and Big South Freshman of the Year in 2012, and earned Big South All-Conference first team honors in both 2012 and 2014. Last year, Douglas led the Big South in kills per set, while recording 10 20-kill matches and 10 double-doubles. She will enter her final year at Liberty ranked 15th in program history with 1,041 career kills.
Vorster, hailing from Wellington, Fla., has earned three all-conference awards in her career, including Big South All-Conference second team laurels during her first year at Liberty, 2014. A two-time All-Big West selection before joining the Lady Flames from Hawai'i, Vorster placed second in the Big South in blocks while setting a new program rally-scoring record with 32 solo blocks. Her 145 total blocks were the second most in a single season in the program's rally-scoring history.
Liberty is scheduled to open its season at home with the Liberty Invitational presented by La Quinta Inn & Suites, Aug. 28 and 29. The Lady Flames host UNCG on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. to begin the campaign. The first of Liberty's 14 Big South Conference matches will take place Sept. 25 at Radford.
High Point will host the 2015 Big South Volleyball Championship, Nov. 19-22 at the Millis Center. The winner of the conference tournament receives the Big South's automatic qualifying bid to the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship.
2015 Big South Conference Preseason Volleyball Poll Team (First-place votes) – Points 1) Coastal Carolina (7) – 97 2) Liberty (2) – 89 3T) Radford (1) – 73 3T) Winthrop – 73 5) High Point – 66 6) Campbell – 44 7) Presbyterian College – 35 8) Gardner-Webb – 33 9) UNC Asheville – 22 10) Charleston Southern – 18
2015 Preseason All-Big South Team Leah Hardeman, So., OH, Coastal Carolina (Preseason Player of the Year) Caroline Douglas, R-Sr., OH, Liberty Rachel Lenz, Sr., MB, Winthrop Jade Vorster, Sr., MB, Liberty Eszter Nagy, Sr., MB, Coastal Carolina Mary Crema, Sr., LIB, Campbell Maddie Palmer, So., OH, Radford
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