The Liberty volleyball team takes on Commonwealth foe Radford in a Big South match on Friday at 7 p.m. inside the Dedmon Center.
Complete Match Notes Big South-leading Liberty heads to the road for its next three matches, starting with a 7 p.m. match on Friday at Radford. Friday's match pits strength versus strength, as Liberty leads the Big South in hitting percentage, kills, assists and aces and Radford is first in opponents' hitting percentage and digs per set. Liberty (17-7, 7-2 Big South) entered last weekend in a three-way tie for first place in the Big South, but swept both Presbyterian College and Winthrop to take sole possesion of the conference lead. Radford (13-13, 3-6), last year's Big South runner-up to Liberty, currently sits in ninth place after dropping three out of its last four conference tilts.
Liberty at a Glance The Lady Flames hold a one-match lead in the Big South over Presbyterian College and Coastal Carolina. Liberty had a terrific all-around week last week, hitting .316 while averaging 16.1 kills, 16.67 digs and 3.08 blocks per set. On Monday, junior setter Jade Craycraft was named Big South Volleyball Player of the Week, the fifth Lady Flame to earn weekly honors from the Big South this season.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live stats and live video will be available for Friday's match. Live stats will be provided by Radford's Athletic Communications department. Fans can view Friday's contest through live video streaming, for a small charge, through the Big South Network.
Quick Hits - Liberty has sole possession of first place in the Big South, at 7-2, following 2-0 weekend. - Jade Craycraft was named Big South Player of the Week, Monday. - Liberty ranks first in the Big South in hitting percentage, aces, kills and assists. - Radford leads the Big South in opponents' hitting percentage (.171) and digs (16.13) - Liberty hit .316 with 16.1 kills, 16.67 digs and 3.08 blocks per set last week. - The Lady Flames are 10-1 in Friday matches this season, winning 10 straight. - Caroline Douglas leads the Big South in kills; Loren Thomas is first in hitting percentage. - Liberty was voted first in Big South Preseason coaches' poll. (Radford - 2nd) - Liberty leads all-time series over Radford, 40-25, winning 23 in a row. - Lady Flames downed Radford, 3-0, during Big South opener, Sept. 21 at Vines Center.
Craycraft Named Big South Player of the Week On Monday, Jade Craycraft was named Big South Volleyball Player of the Week, following a terrific all-around week during which she helped Liberty to two sweeps. For the week, the junior setter from Wooster, Ohio, averaged 12.17 assists, 3.83 digs, 1.33 blocks and 1.33 kills per set. After posting 32 assists, eight digs and four blocks on Friday against Presbyterian College, she added 41 assists, a season-high 15 digs and four blocks versus Winthrop.
1-2 Punch During each of the last three matches, Liberty has gotten 10 or more kills from both of its outside hitters, Caroline Douglas and Lillie Happel. Happel led the Lady Flames with 14 kills at Coastal Carolina on Oct. 13 and 15 against Presbyterian College last Friday, while Douglas had a team-high 14 kills on Saturday versus Winthrop.
High Efficiency The Lady Flames hit .383 on Saturday against Winthrop, good for their highest hitting percentage against a Big South team this season. The team's previous high was .376 at Gardner-Webb. Liberty is now attacking at a .264 pace in conference play in 2012. Against Winthrop, Kendle Rollins hit .727 (8-0-11), while Loren Thomas (10-1-18) and Jade Craycraft (4-0-8) both hit .500. Caroline Douglas hit .379 in sending down 14 kills. Everybody Defends Between the span of two matches this past weekend, four Lady Flames recorded at least one double-digit dig match, and a fifth, Becca Haraf, had nine digs against Winthrop. Gabrielle Shipe registered 15 digs on Friday against Presbyterian College and added 11 on Saturday versus Winthrop. Also on Friday, Lillie Happel collected 13 digs and Allie Reynolds added 10 digs. Jade Craycraft totaled a season-high 15 digs, Saturday.
Double-Doubles Lillie Happel recorded 15 kills and 13 digs against Presbyterian College, marking her 23rd career double-double, and fourth this season. Jade Craycraft tallied her seventh double-double of 2012 and 20th of her career, with 41 assists and 15 digs versus Winthrop. In the last four home matches, either Craycraft or Happel has registered a double-double.
Moving on Up Loren Thomas ranks ninth all-time in the Big South, and third in program history, with 438 career blocks. She is 14 blocks shy of seventh in conference history, shared by Lady Flames legend Anthonia Akpama (1996-99) and Jill Nyhof of Coastal Carolina (2006-09). Kendle Rollins is now 10th in program history in career blocks, at 280. She is five blocks away from passing Chelaine McCarty, who had 284 blocks from 2007-09.
Liberty vs. Radford All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 40-25 Current Series Streak: Liberty W23 Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Radford 0 (Sept. 21, 2012) Radford Head Coach: Marci Jenkins (2011 Big South Coach of the Year) Coaching Record at Radford: 62-89 (5th Year)
Liberty Head Coach: Shane Pinder (2011 VaSID State Coach of the Year) Coaching Record: 166-120 (9th Year)
Radford (13-13, 3-6 Big South) is in ninth place in the conference after going 1-3 in its last four Big South matches. The Highlanders' strength has been on defense, ranking first in the Big South in opponents' hitting percentage (.171) and digs per set (16.13). Middle blocker Emma Deininger, the 2011 Big South Freshman of the Year, is 10th in the Big South in blocks per set (0.82) and attack percentage (.254). Katelyn Meeks averages 4.63 digs per set. Rachel Wiechecki paces Radford with 2.75 kills per set and 0.38 aces per set. Jena Braden and Christine Beckham split the setting duties, as Braden leads the Highlanders with 5.17 assists per set.
Series History Liberty holds a 40-25 overall record against Radford in volleyball, and the Lady Flames have won each of the last 23 meetings with the Highlanders. Radford's most recent win over Liberty in volleyball came Nov. 6, 2001, a 3-2 Highlanders victory in the Vines Center. The Lady Flames and Highlanders have met in the Big South Championship final on three occasions, with Liberty downing Radford for the title in 1999, 2001 and 2011. Both regular-season meetings between Liberty and Radford in 2011 resulted in 3-2 Lady Flames victories.
Last Meeting Liberty won a rematch of the 2011 Big South Championship final, downing Radford, 3-0 (27-25, 25-15, 25-22) on Sept. 21 at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames hit .257, compared to Radford's .192, recording 44 kills to 34 for the Highlanders. Caroline Douglas led all players with 13 kills and Ansley Gebben added 12 kills, while Gabrielle Shipe collected a match-high 18 digs. Emily Carlin fashioned a double-double for Radford, with 11 kills and 10 digs.
.300 X .300 On Saturday against Winthrop, Liberty outhit the Eagles, .383 to .308. It marked the first time that Liberty and its opponent both hit .300 or better in a match since Oct. 9, 2001, when the Lady Flames outhit North Carolina A&T, .331-.323 in a 3-1 Liberty win. Current Liberty assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden connected for 16 kills at a .323 pace during that match.
Fantastic Fridays Liberty volleyball is 10-1 in matches played on Friday this season. The Lady Flames have won 10 straight Friday contests since falling to UNCG, 3-2, in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 24 in Durham, N.C. Commonwealth of Success Liberty has won its last 21 conference matches played inside the Commonwealth of Virginia, including 19 at home and two at Radford's Dedmon Center. Under Coach Pinder, the Lady Flames have gone 64-13 against Big South teams while playing in Virginia, including 55-6 since the start of 2006.
Climbing the Charts Liberty head coach Shane Pinder, in his ninth year at the helm, has posted a 166-120 overall record, placing him fifth all-time among Big South coaches in career wins. He is one win away from tying Joel McCartney for fourth place, as McCartney led Winthrop to 167 wins from 2001 to 2006
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