Seniors Gabrielle Vess, Sirena Vorster and Anna Willey be honored with a Senior Night ceremony prior to Friday's match against Gardner-Webb.
Complete Match Notes Liberty (9-14, 6-4 Big South), currently on a three-match winning streak, hosts Gardner-Webb (7-16, 1-9) on Friday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Campbell (16-8, 6-4) to the Vines Center, Saturday at 2 p.m. Gardner-Webb enters the weekend on an eight-match losing streak, while Campbell has won its last six matches in a row. Liberty and Campbell are currently tied for third place in the Big South standings.
Starting Rotation 1. Liberty will honor its three seniors, Gabrielle Vess, Sirena Vorster and Anna Willey, with a Senior Night ceremony prior to its home match against Gardner-Webb, Friday. The Lady Flames have gone 36-14 in Big South play during their careers.
2. Junior libero Margaret Latchford currently ranks 15th in program history with 1,216 career digs, needing just 25 more digs to go all the way to 12th place. She averaged 6.14 digs per set last week, including a 26-dig effort at Charleston Southern.
3. During Liberty's current three-match winning streak, the Lady Flames have outhit opponents, .270-.118, while averaging 15.30 kills per set.
4. Amaya Williams is one out of four Big South freshmen to be named Big South Freshman of the Week twice this season. She leads all Big South freshman setters with 9.22 assists per set in conference matches. Williams has posted two 50-assist matches.
5. Sophomore Casey Goodwin had an outstanding weekend last week, averaging 5.0 kills per set while hitting .412. She scored 16 kills at Winthrop on Friday before scoring a season-high 19 kills at a .444 pace in a 3-1 win at CSU, Saturday.
6. Shane Pinder, in his 14th season as Liberty's head coach, is the program's all-time winningest coach, at 247-190. He is ranked second all-time among all Big South volleyball coaches in both overall wins and conference victories (141).
7. Liberty currently sits in a tie for third in the Big South standings with Campbell at 6-4. High Point leads at 11-0, followed in second by Radford at 8-2 with three weeks of conference play left to go.
On the Attack Liberty posted some impressive offensive numbers last weekend.
On Friday at Winthrop, Liberty hit a season-best .333. It was the team's highest hitting percentage in a Big South match since hitting .371 at Presbyterian, Oct. 23, 2015. Casey Goodwin led the way with 16 kills, including 10 kills during set three. She is the first Liberty player since Caroline Douglas against UNC Asheville in 2012 to score 10 kills in one set. Liberty hit a sensational .520 (16-3-25) during the third set, a 25-10 win.
Liberty then hit .214 on Saturday at CSU in a 3-1 win. Goodwin hit .444 while sending down a season-high 19 kills, while Jenna Culhan scored a career-high 12 kills at a .375 pace and Anna Gragg added 10 kills.
Stopped Cold Liberty held opponents to a .109 hitting percentage last weekend. Winthrop's .041 was the lowest hitting percentage by a Liberty opponent so far this season.
Liberty's defense averaged 19.14 digs per set last week. On Friday at Winthrop, Margaret Latchford collected 17 digs, while Jenna Culhan collected a career-high 13 digs. During Saturday's win at CSU, Liberty totaled 80 digs, led by Latchford's 26. Victoria Baptista tied her career high with 18 digs, while Gabrielle Vess collected 15 digs.
Milestones Reached Junior Margaret Latchford collected her 1,000th career dig against VCU, Sept. 12. She currently ranks 15th in program history with 1,216 career digs. Next on the list are: Nicole Nice (14th place; 1989-92; 1,224), Kyrie Dorn (13th; 1996-99; 1,235) and Kallie Corbin (12th; 2006-09; 1,241).
Block Party During Friday night's match against Winthrop, Liberty posted 10 blocks as a team, its eighth 10-block match of the season. The Lady Flames posted seven solo blocks on Friday, their most solo blocks in a match since registering nine solo blocks against Coastal Carolina in the 2012 Big South Volleyball Championship title match.
A year after leading the Big South with 2.45 blocks per set, Liberty has picked up its net defense where it left off, ranking second in the conference with 2.20 blocks per set.
Williams Weekly Honors Amaya Williams is one of four Big South freshmen to be named Big South Freshman of the Week exactly twice this season, earning the honor on Sept. 25 and Oct. 16.
She has posted two 50-assist matches this season, both in conference play, and her 59 assists against Presbyterian on Sept. 23 are the most by a Big South setter in any match this season.
Williams ranks fourth in the conference with 9.22 assists per set during Big South play, which is first among freshman setters.
Middle of it All Sophomore middle blocker Anna Gragg has gotten off to a strong start to conference play, hitting .383 while averaging 2.95 kills per set in Big South matches. She has scored 19 kills in a conference match twice so far.
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.
Sirena Vorster, who along with Gragg was a Big South All-Conference honorable mention middle blocker in 2016, is averaging 1.91 kills per set while hitting .364 in conference play.
Double-Doubles Gabrielle Vess and Amaya Williams are tied for first on the team, with six double-doubles each this season.
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.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb (Liberty leads series, 21-2) (Series streak: Liberty W7) Gardner-Webb (7-16, 1-9 Big South) is looking to snap an eight-match losing streak. The Runnin' Bulldogs' last win was Sept. 26, a 3-2 home victory over UNC Asheville. Gardner-Webb leads the Big South with 2.22 blocks per set this season.
Keira Moore ranks second in the Big South with 1.05 blocks per set. Kaelyn Dyson is ranked fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.300) while tying for sixth in blocks per set (0.87). Emma Milstead sits fourth in conference rankings with 4.40 digs per set.
Liberty leads the all-time series over the Runnin' Bulldogs, 21-2, winning the first 11 meetings, before Gardner-Webb swept the Lady Flames, Oct. 11, 2011 at Paul Porter Arena. The Lady Flames have won the last seven meetings in a row, after Gardner-Webb rallied for a 3-2 win over Liberty, Oct. 4, 2013 at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames swept Gardner-Webb, 3-0, in front of 1,506 fans on Oct. 7, 2016 at the Vines Center. Liberty outhit the Runnin' Bulldogs, .301-.058, on the evening. Liberty then overcame a 2-1 match deficit on Oct. 22, 2016 at Gardner-Webb, outlasting the Runnin' Bulldgos, 21-19, in the fifth set. Set five saw an astonishing 16 ties.
Liberty vs. Campbell (Liberty leads series, 17-7) (Series streak: Campbell W2)
Campbell (16-8, 6-4) enters the weekend on a six-match winning streak after opening conference play at 0-4. The Camels lead the Big South with 17.74 digs per set in conference play.
Allena Heath, a member of the 2016 Big South All-Freshman team, leads the Big South with 4.13 kills per set. Summer Schuitema averages 0.49 aces per set, second in the conference while ranking 14th nationally. 2016 Big South All-Conference second team selection Kayla Schanback is ranked sixth in the Big South with 4.14 digs per set.
The Lady Flames hold a 17-7 all-time record against Campbell, including 12-5 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. The two teams have split the season series each of the last three years. Campbell has won three out of the last four meetings. The home team has won, 3-0, in each of the last three meetings.
On Oct. 6 in Buies Creek, N.C., the Camels posted a 3-0 sweep of the visiting Lady Flames. Campbell's Allena Heath scored 17 kills, while Liberty's Casey Goodwin recorded 13 kills at a .480 pace to go along with six blocks.
3-2, 3-2, 3-2 Liberty posted three straight five-set wins for the first time in program history, over PC (Sept. 23), UNC Asheville (Sept. 30) and Radford (Oct. 3). The Lady Flames are now 3-1 in five-set conference matches this season.
The Lady Flames have hit outhit Big South opponents a combined .269 (39-15-89) to .109 (22-12-91) in fifth sets this season.
Three in a Row Liberty has won its last three matches in a row, starting with a 3-0 sweep of CSU on Oct. 14. During Liberty's current three-match winning streak, the Lady Flames have outhit opponents, .270-.118, while averaging 15.30 kills per set and 19.20 digs per set.
During the last three matches, Casey Goodwin is averaging 4.60 kills per set while hitting .343. Amaya Williams has dished out 11.00 assists per set, while Margaret Latchford collects 6.20 digs per set.
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