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Liberty Set to Compete in Pitt Invite

September 13, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Set to Compete in Pitt Invite

Match Notes

Tournament Central

Coming off of a big 3-0 sweep of Virginia in its home opener on Tuesday, Liberty (3-7) heads to Pittsburgh to compete in the Pitt Invite on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames changed their plans due to Hurricane Florence, as they were originally scheduled to play in a tournament at SMU this weekend. Liberty will face College of Charleston (7-4) twice (Friday at noon and Saturday at 4 p.m.) while taking on former Big South rival High Point (3-6) on Saturday at 10 a.m.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all matches at this weekend's Pitt Invite, courtesy of Pitt's Athletics Media Relations Department.

While Liberty and College of Charleston have only met once, the Lady Flames are very familiar with High Point. Liberty is 31-17 all-time against the Panthers in a series that started in 1995. High Point has made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, including an at-large selection in 2017. From 2007 to 2012, either Liberty (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012) or High Point (2010) won every Big South tournament title but one.

Starting Rotation
1. Liberty made a big statement in its home opener, sweeping Virginia for the first time since 1979. The Lady Flames outhit the Cavaliers, .284-.200 on the evening. Jenna Culhan led Liberty with 10 kills, her third double-digit kill match in a row.

2. Trevor Johnson takes over the program after spending the last two seasons as top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M. A very successful head coach at the NAIA level, he went 86-14 combined at Concordia (Calif.), leading the men's team to the 2013 NAIA national title.

3. Senior outside hitter Victoria Baptista leads the team in both total kills (77) and double-doubles (3) this season. This season, she became the first Liberty player since Kelly Haseman in 2010 to collect 10 or more digs in each of the first six matches of a season.

4. Junior middle blocker Anna Gragg is a two-time Big South All-Conference performer, including first-team honors in 2017. She posted a season-high eight blocks against Colgate last Saturday, one shy of a career high. Gragg leads the team in total blocks (35) on the season.

5. Junior right-side hitter Casey Goodwin, the 2018 Fan-Voted ASUN Preseason Player of the Year, was a second-team all-conference selection last year. She is the first player in the program's rally-scoring history with at least one 20-kill match as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

6. Senior Margaret Latchford needs five more digs to become the seventh player in program history with 1,500 or more digs. She tied her season high with 23 digs against Colgate last Saturday and was named to the Maryland Invite All-Tournament Team.

7. Liberty will be competing in Pittsburgh for the first time since opening the 2002 season at a tournament hosted by Duquesne.

Team Notes
- Last Saturday against Colgate, Liberty placed five players (Jenna Culhan, Amelia Johnson, Kailey Macy, Victoria Baptista and Anna Gragg) in double figures in kills. It was the first time since Oct. 29, 2010 at Charleston Southern that five Lady Flames reached double digits in kills in the same match.

- Liberty overcame a 24-20 deficit in set two on Aug. 31 against Houston Baptist, winning the set, 27-25. It tied for the most consecutive set points fought off by the Lady Flames in a match under the current 25-point scoring system (Nov. 3, 2012 at Campbell).

- The Lady Flames are 3-1 this season when hitting .230 or better in a match, and 0-6 when hitting .229 or lower.

- Liberty led the Big South in blocks per set in both 2016 (2.45) and 2017 (2.15). The Lady Flames then posted 15 blocks in a 3-2 win over Oakland on Aug. 24, the first of four 10-block matches for the team so far in 2018.

- A total of 16 out of its first 17 matches are away from the Vines Center. Then, the Lady Flames will play a program-record nine straight home matches during the month of October.

- After finishing the 2017 season averaging 0.84 aces per set, Liberty's service game has improved this year, averaging 1.62 aces per set, good for 61st in the nation.

- Casey Goodwin's sixth ace of the match clinched set five, 18-16, against Oakland on Aug. 24, sealing Trevor Johnson's first win as head coach of the Lady Flames.

- Liberty fell to Purdue Fort Wayne, 43-41, in set one on Aug. 25. It was tied for the fourth-longest set in NCAA Division I history under the current 25-point scoring system.

- Liberty welcomes five newcomers to the roster in freshmen Madi Furtado, Lilly Kruse, Sydney Street and Aspen Thompson and transfer Amelia Johnson (North Dakota). Furtado, Kruse, Street and Johnson all made their Liberty debuts on the season-opening weekend in Fort Wayne, Ind.