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Liberty's Road Stretch Continues at Campbell, Friday

October 5, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty's Road Stretch Continues at Campbell, Friday

Complete Match Notes

Liberty (6-11, 3-1 Big South), currently on a three-match winning streak, heads to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell (11-8, 1-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Gore Arena. The Lady Flames have won three straight five-set matches for the first time in program history, while Campbell picked up its first conference win of the season at CSU, Tuesday.

Liberty is 17-6 all-time against Campbell in volleyball, including 12-4 as Big South opponents. These two teams have split the season series, 1-1, each of the last three years.

Starting Rotation
1. The Lady Flames have won three straight five-set matches for the first time in program history, posting 3-2 comeback wins over PC and UNC Asheville before holding off defending Big South regular-season champion Radford in five sets, Tuesday.

2. Anna Gragg has reached double-figures in kills in each of the last five matches. She is the first Liberty middle blocker since Kendle Rollins in 2010 with five straight 10-kill contests. She leads the Big South with a .444 hitting percentage in conference matches.

3. In their last three matches, all five-set wins, the Lady Flames have hit outhit opponents a combined .312 (30-10-64) to .057 (13-9-69) in fifth sets.

4. Junior libero Margaret Latchford surpassed 1,100 career digs on Tuesday. She currently ranks 17th in program history with 1,114 career digs.

5. On Sept. 23 against PC, Anna Gragg (19 kills, .514), Casey Goodwin (15, .536) and Sirena Vorster (14, .542) all hit over .500, the first time in rally-scoring history (since 2001) that three Lady Flames hit .500 or better, with 12 or more kills, in the same match.

6. Shane Pinder, in his 14th season as Liberty's head coach, is the program's all-time winningest coach, at 244-187. He is ranked second all-time among all Big South volleyball coaches in both overall wins and conference victories (138). 

7. The Lady Flames were predicted to finish third in the Big South Preseason Coaches' Poll. Additionally, senior setter Anna Willey and sophomore middle blocker Anna Gragg were voted to the Preseason All-Big South team.

Middle of it All
Sophomore middle blocker Anna Gragg has gotten off to a strong start to conference play, hitting .444 while averaging 3.26 kills per set in Big South matches. She scored 19 kills on Sept. 23 against Presbyterian and had 18 kills on Sept. 30 versus UNC Asheville.

Gragg was the first Liberty middle blocker since Erin McKeown in Nov. 2002 with consecutive 18+-kill matches. McKeown went for 18 or more kills in four straight matches.

In each of its first two conference matches, Liberty had two middle blockers in double-digits in kills. Kainah Williams and Gragg both went for 11 kills on Sept. 19 against High Point. Then, on Sept 23 versus PC, Gragg scored 19 kills and Sirena Vorster, 14.

Milestones Reached
Junior Margaret Latchford collected her 1,000th career dig during the first set of Liberty's match against VCU, Sept. 12. On Tuesday at Radford, she became the 17th player in progra, history with 1,100 career digs. She needs five more digs to pass Becky Shannon (1985-88) into 16th place all-time in program history.

On the Rise
Gabrielle Vess has scored in double-figures in kills in each of the last three matches, all wins. For her career, the senior has posted 28 career 10-kill matches. She also is the team's active leader with 612 career kills.

Efficiency on Display
Liberty's offense has clicked at a season-best rate over the past three matches, hitting .229 as a team during that span. On Sept. 23 against PC, the Lady Flames hit a season-high .290 with a Vines Center 25-point rally-scoring-record 73 kills. The Lady Flames then hit .218 with 65 kills last Saturday versus UNC Asheville.

During that span, Anna Gragg has hit .450 (51-6-100), while Sirena Vorster checks in at .426 (31-5-61), Lydia Smith at .389 (8-1-18) and Casey Goodwin, .276 (31-10-76).

Block Party
On Tuesday at Radford Liberty posted 10 blocks, its fifth 10-block match of the season. Casey Goodwin totaled a career-high seven blocks (one solo, six assisted), while Sirena Vorster posted five block assists. Among the teams Liberty has outblocked in matches this season are: Villanova, Virginia, Hofstra, VCU, High Point and Radford.

On Tuesday at Radford, Amaya Williams posted her team-leading sixth double-double of the season, while Gabrielle Vess recorded her fourth double-double of 2017.

Williams, making her first start on Aug. 26 against Virginia, registered a double-double with 36 assists and 10 digs. She is the first Liberty freshman since Lillie Happel (Aug. 27, 2010 vs. Cleveland State) to record a double-double in her first start.

Senior Anna Willey is Liberty's active career leader in double-doubles with 28.

Team Effort
During the Sept. 23 win over PC, Anna Gragg led the way with a career-high 19 kills, while Casey Goodwin scored 15 kills, Sirena Vorster had 14 kills and Gabrielle Vess totaled 13 kills. It was the first time since Nov. 2, 2007 at PC that four Lady Flames posted 13 or more kills.

Sept. 23 was the first time this season that five Lady Flames reached double-digits in digs. Margaret Latchford collected 21 digs, while Kaitlyn Young collected a career-high 17 digs, Amaya Williams registered 12 digs, Gabrielle Vess had 11 and Victoria Baptista, 10.

Freshman Amaya Williams recorded a career-high 59 assists, Sept. 23 against PC.

Williams is one of three current Liberty setters with at least one career 50+-assist match. Anna Willey has posted 12 career 50-assist matches, with a career high of 63 assists. Sophomore Hannah Morris has recorded one career 50-assist contest, with a career high of 51 assists. This is the first time in rally-scoring history (since 2001) that three active Liberty players have at least one career 50-assist match to their credit.

Liberty vs. Campbell
All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 17-6
Current Streak: Campbell W1
Last Meeting: Campbell 3, Liberty 0 (Nov. 1, 2016 – Buies Creek, N.C.)
Last Liberty Win: Liberty 3, Campbell 0 (Oct. 10, 2016 – Lynchburg, Va.)
Last Liberty Win at Campbell: Liberty 3, Campbell 2 (Oct. 9, 2015 - Buies Creek, N.C.)

Campbell (11-8, 1-4 Big South) picked up its first conference win, Tuesday at Charleston Southern, snapping a four-match losing streak after opening the season at 10-4. The Camels rank second in the Big South in kills per set (12.74) and assists per set (11.51).

Allena Heath, a member of the 2016 Big South All-Freshman team, leads the Big South with 3.81 kills per set. Summer Schuitema averages 0.50 aces per set, leading the conference while ranking 14th nationally. 2016 Big South All-Conference second team selection Kayla Schanback is ranked 6th in the Big South with 4.16 digs per set.

Series History
The Lady Flames hold a 17-6 all-time record against Campbell, including 12-4 as Big South opponents. Liberty had won 10 meetings in a row between the two teams until Nov. 8, 2014, when the Camels downed the Lady Flames, 3-1, at Gore Arena. Liberty fought back from a 6-1, fifth-set deficit to win a back-and-forth match over Campbell, 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 15-11), Oct. 9, 2015 in Buies Creek, N.C. The two teams have split the season series each of the last three years.

2016 Series Recap
Liberty outhit Campbell, .295 to .025 on Oct. 10, 2016 in the Vines Center, downing the Camels, 3-0. Leah Clayton scored a match-high 15 kills while Gabrielle Vess added 10 kills. It was Liberty's third home match in a four-day span, all wins.

Campbell turned the tables at Gore Arena, sweeping Liberty, 3-0, on Nov. 1. The Camels hit .200, while Liberty attacked at a .000 pace.

3-2, 3-2, 3-2
Liberty has posted three straight five-set wins for the first time in program history.

Down, 2-1 in the match and trailing set four, 21-16, Liberty went on a 9-1 run to take the fourth set before winning set five, 15-8, Sept. 23 against PC.

Liberty duplicated its comeback success last Saturday, once again overcoming a 2-1 match deficit. Trailing, 8-5, in the fifth set, the Lady Flames outscored UNC Asheville, 10-2, down the stretch to pull off their second straight five-set win.

On Tuesday night, Liberty and Radford were tied at 10-all in the fifth set. Gabrielle Vess then scored two kills and added a solo block as the Lady Flames reeled off the final five points to seal the match win.

The current senior class of Vess, Sirena Vorster and Anna Willey is 12-3 in Big South regular-season matches that last five sets.

Early Returns
Four matches into Big South play, Anna Gragg (.444) leads the Big South in hitting percentage, while Amaya Williams ranks fourth in the Big South with 9.83 assists per set against league competition. Casey Goodwin ranks sixth with 0.89 blocks per set.