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Lady Flames to Face William & Mary in Home Opener

August 27, 2012  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty volleyball team hosts William & Mary on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

The Liberty volleyball team hosts William & Mary on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

Complete Match Notes

The Liberty volleyball team begins the home portion of the 2012 schedule, Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Commonwealth foe William & Mary. The Lady Flames, facing the Tribe for the first time since 2007, aim to open the home schedule with a win for the fourth year in a row.

Liberty and William & Mary both competed in Durham, N.C., this past weekend, with the Lady Flames posting a 2-1 record at the North Carolina Central Tournament and the Tribe going 1-2 at the Duke Invitational.

Liberty At A Glance
After dropping a close, 3-2, match to UNCG in the season opener, the Lady Flames bounced back to sweep North Carolina Central on Friday and Elon on Saturday. The team served up an astonishing 35 aces (3.18 aps) on the weekend, led by 10 from Lillie Happel.

Redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas made an immediate impact, averaging 3.64 kills per set while hitting .515 and being named Big South Freshman of the Week.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Tuesday night's match can be viewed through live video streaming via the Flames Sports Network and the Big South Network. Ray Jones will provide play-by-play, with Erin McKeown serving as the color analyst. Live stats, which can be accessed through links on, will be provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications Department.

Quick Hits
- Liberty contests its home opener against Commonwealth opponent William & Mary.
- Redshirt freshman Caroline Douglas was named Big South Freshman of Week, Monday.
- Ninth-year head coach Shane Pinder recorded 150th career win, Friday at N.C. Central.
- The Lady Flames notched 35 aces over first three matches, led by Lillie Happel's 10.
- Liberty went 10-1 at home last season, and 47-8 over the past five seasons.
- The Lady Flames posted their fifth 20-win season in a row in 2011.
- The team was voted to repeat as Big South champions in the preseason coaches poll.
- Loren Thomas was named the 2012 Big South Preseason Player of the Year.
- Liberty's freshman class of seven is its largest since 1993.
- Liberty is 16-4 in its last 20 five-set matches, dating to 2009.
- William & Mary leads all-time series, 10-3, although Liberty has won last two meetings.

Douglas Named Big South Freshman of the Week
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Caroline Douglas had a standout weekend in Durham, leading the Lady Flames with 3.64 kills per set and a .515 hitting percentage through three matches. She was named to the North Carolina Central all-tournament team, and was tabbed Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday.

She opened her career with 19 kills against UNCG, connecting at a .548 clip, and added 16 kills on .538 efficiency on Saturday against Elon. Her kills total and hitting percentage against UNCG are the best of any Liberty volleyball player during a season opener in the rally-scoring era.

Acing the Test
Liberty served up 35 aces over the span of three matches at the North Carolina Central Tournament. The Lady Flames totaled 13 aces in the season opener against UNCG, and followed with 13 against N.C. Central and nine versus Elon on Saturday.

Nine different Lady Flames recorded at least one ace over the weekend, led by 10 from Lillie Happel.
The Lady Flames have registered one or more aces during each of their last 217 matches, a streak which started Oct. 7, 2005 at Charleston Southern.

Lillie Happel recorded her 20th career double-double on Friday against UNCG, with 15 kills and 16 digs. Jade Craycraft collected the 14th double-double of her career in the same match, with 42 assists and 13 digs.

Happel has now registered double-digit kill totals in the season opener during each of her three seasons at Liberty. She is the first Lady Flame in the rally-scoring era to begin her career with 10 or more kills in three straight season openers.

Early Opening
Tuesday's match will be just the fourth Liberty volleyball match contested in the Vines Center during the month of August, all-time. The Lady Flames opened the 2007 season by hosting the Liberty Invitational, Aug. 24-25, going 2-1 during the invitational.

Liberty vs. William & Mary
All-Time Series
: William & Mary leads, 10-3
Current Series Streak: Liberty W2
Liberty's Record vs. William & Mary Under Coach Pinder: 2-1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, William & Mary 2 (Sept. 15, 2007 - Villanova, Pa.)
Last William & Mary Win: William & Mary 3, Liberty 2 (Sept. 18, 2004 - Lynchburg, Va.)

William & Mary went 1-2 during its season-opening invitational at Duke, defeating Fairfield while falling to Duke and Milwaukee. The Tribe has a balanced attack, with four players averaging 2.0 kills per set or better. Liz Brown leads the way with 2.57 kills per set, while Dessi Koleva collects 3.67 digs per set. William & Mary boasts a 2.09 blocks per set average, led by Carolyn Albright at 1.0 bps.

The Tribe holds a 10-3 advantage over Liberty in the all-time series, although the Lady Flames have won each of the last two meetings. William & Mary is 2-0 against Liberty inside the Vines Center, including a 3-2 win on Sept. 18, 2004.

William & Mary's fourth-year head coach, Melissa Shelton, spent 13 seasons (1995-2007) at Virginia, totaling a 284-216 record over 17 years of coaching. She is 7-2 all-time against Liberty, including 6-0 while at Virginia and 2-2 overall against Coach Pinder.

The Lady Flames are 29-48 all-time against 2012 members of the CAA. Liberty's last win over a CAA opponent was a 3-1 victory against James Madison, Sept. 14, 2010 at the Vines Center.

The Last Meeting
Liberty claimed a 3-2 decision (32-30, 25-30, 25-30, 30-27, 15-10) over William & Mary in the teams' last meeting, Sept. 15, 2007, at the Villanova Classic. The Lady Flames trailed set four, 24-17 before staging a 13-3 rally to force a decisive fifth set.

Jessica Nelson and Allyson Sanders posted 20 kills apiece, while Nelson collected 33 digs to lead all players. It marked the last time Liberty had two players with 20+ kills in a match until Lillie Happel (21 kills) and Loren Thomas (20 kills) did so, Nov. 12, 2012 at UNC Asheville. William & Mary's Erin Skipper tallied a match-high 30 kills.

Welcome Home
Opponents face a tough task when entering the Vines Center, as Liberty volleyball has gone 47-8 (.855) at home over the past five seasons. In total, the Lady Flames are 62-23   in home matches under ninth-year head coach Shane Pinder, and 83-27 in the last 10 seasons.

The Lady Flames are 6-2 in home openers under Pinder, and 16-8 in the initial home match of the season in the NCAA Division I era. Last year, Liberty won the home opener for the third season in a row, and fourth out of five, sweeping Rider on Sept. 9.

150 and Counting
With Liberty's 3-0 win over North Carolina Central on Friday, ninth-year head coach Shane Pinder collected his 150th win at the helm of Liberty's volleyball team. He became the sixth Big South coach, and second in program history, with 150 or more coaching wins.

His 100th career win came on Nov. 7, 2009 against Gardner-Webb. His career record moved to 100-88 (.532) that night. Since then, the Lady Flames have gone 51-26 (.662).