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Lady Flames Host Rival Radford, Friday, to Open Final Homestand

October 28, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Host Rival Radford, Friday, to Open Final Homestand

Complete Match Notes

Liberty (12-10, 7-2 Big South), coming off a 2-0 weekend in South Carolina, returns home to the Vines Center for three straight home matches. Liberty hosts defending Big South regular season champion Radford (10-12, 3-6), Friday at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center.

The Lady Flames lead Radford, 44-28, all-time, after defeating the Highlanders, 3-1, on Sept. 25 at the Dedmon Center. Liberty has won 14 straight meetings with Radford at the Vines Center, starting in the 2002 season.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for Friday's match. Additionally, the match will air, free of charge, on the Big South Network, the Liberty Flames Sports Network and Ray Jones will serve as play-by-play announcer, with Erin Hagen providing analysis.

Starting Rotation
1.   Liberty went 2-0 last weekend, sweeping Presbyterian, 3-0, before rallying for a 3-2 win at Winthrop. The Lady Flames are now 3-0 in five-set Big South matches this season. Liberty is in third in the Big South, behind Coastal Carolina (9-0) and High Point (7-1).

2.   Margaret Latchford collected a program rally-scoring-record 38 digs on Oct. 9 at Campbell. She is ranked 73rd in the nation, and seventh among all freshmen in NCAA Division I volleyball, with 4.62 digs per set.

3.   Caroline Douglas was named Big South Player of the Week on Tuesday. She tied her season high with 20 kills at PC, passing both former teammate Lillie Happel (2010-13) and Nicki Scripko (2007-09) for ninth place in program history.

4.   Sophomore Anna Willey has posted double-doubles in seven out of Liberty's nine conference matches so far this season, giving her 10 double-doubles on the year.

5.   The Lady Flames posted a season-high 13 blocks on Saturday, getting five each from Hannah Weidner and Jade Vorster. Vorster is curently ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I volleyball players with 438 career blocks (221 at Hawai'i, 217 at Liberty).

6.   On Friday at PC, Liberty trailed set one, 18-14, before scoring an 11-0 run to win the set, 25-18. Susan Babcock served for the final 10 points. It was Liberty's longest scoring rally since an 11-0 burst during set two of the 2013 Big South semifinal against Radford.

7.   Shane Pinder is Liberty's winningest volleyball head coach, at 220-159. He is tied with former Liberty and Gardner-Webb coach, Chris Phillips, for third all-time in career coaching wins among Big South volleyball coaches.

Weekend Recap
Liberty went 2-0 on the weekend, sweeping Presbyterian, 3-0, on Friday before rallying for a 3-2 win at Winthrop, Saturday.

On Friday at PC, Liberty hit a season-high .371 on the evening. The Lady Flames trailed set one, 18-14, before reeling off an 11-0 run with Susan Babcock serving the final 10 points. It was Liberty's longest rally since an 11-0 burst against Radford in the 2013 Big South Volleyball semifinal, also at PC's Templeton Center.

On Saturday, Liberty posted a season-high 13 blocks in a 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, 15-12) win at Winthrop. The Lady Flames are 3-0 in five-set Big South matches.

Douglas Named Big South Player of the Week
Caroline Douglas was named Big South Player of the Week on Tuesday, after averaging 4.88 kills per set at a .395 pace in wins at PC and Winthrop. It marks Douglas' third career Big South Player of the Week honor.

Douglas tied a season high with 20 kills at Presbyterian, hitting .459. She passed Lillie Happel (2010-13) and Nicki Scripko (2007-09) for ninth in program history on Friday, and added 19 kills on Saturday. With 1,263 career kills, Douglas needs 46 kills to pass Erin McKeown (2000-03) for eighth in career kills.

On Saturday at Winthrop, Caroline Douglas scored 19 kills, while Gabrielle Vess and Jade Vorster added 10 kills apiece. Liberty is 3-0 in Big South matches this season, and 4-1 overall, when three players reach double figures in kills.

Dishing it Out
Sophomore Anna Willey has dished out at least 40 assists seven times in nine Big South matches so far this season. She has topped 50 assists four times in conference play, including a career-high 55 assists on Oct. 16 against Charleston Southern.

Willey leads the Big South with 11.22 assists per set in conference matches.

Moving on Up
Head Coach Shane Pinder, Liberty's winningest volleyball coach at 220-159, needs one more win to pass Chris Phillips (Liberty/Gardner-Webb) into third place outright in coaching wins among Big South volleyball coaches all-time. Former Coastal Carolina Head Coach Kristen Bauer (1999-2011) is ranked second with 223 wins, while Julie Torbett (UNC Asheville 1994-2010, Winthrop 2011-12) is the all-time leader with 337 wins.

Blocking the Way
Jade Vorster posted a season-high eight blocks on Oct. 16 versus Charleston Southern. She has recorded 438 career blocks, with two years each at Hawai'i (221) and Liberty (217). She ranks 12th among all active NCAA Division I players in career blocks, and is the only active Division I player to record 200 blocks at two separate institutions.

Double-Doubles Abound
After having three total double-doubles in non-conference play, Liberty's players have combined for 10 double-doubles in nine Big South matches.

Anna Willey leads with 10 double-doubles, including seven in league play, while Haley Jeffcoat has recorded two double-doubles and Caroline Douglas, one.

During a 3-1 win over Charleston Southern, Oct. 16, Willey recorded a career-high 55 assists and 12 digs, while Douglas (season-high 20 kills, 12 digs) and Jeffcoat (11 kills, season-high 15 digs) also registered double-doubles.

The last time three Lady Flames recorded double-doubles in the same match was Nov. 15, 2013 at UNC Asheville, in Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel and Douglas.

How Many Digs?
Liberty has posted the only two 100+-dig matches in conference play this season, collecting 101 digs against both UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern. The Lady Flames' 101 digs are the most by the team under the current 25-point scoring format.

In both 101-dig matches, five Lady Flames reached double figures in digs, with Margaret Latchford leading with 31 digs each time.

Liberty vs. Radford (Liberty leads all-time series, 44-28)
Current Series Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Radford 1 (Sept. 25, 2015 - Radford, Va.)
Last Radford Victory: Radford 3, Liberty 0 (Oct. 31, 2014 - Radford, Va.)

Radford (10-12, 3-6 Big South) opened the season with a 3-1 win over the Pac-12's Washington State. The Highlanders currently sit in eighth place in the Big South standings, despite ranking second in the conference with 13.30 kills per set.

Maddie Palmer was leading the Big South with 4.32 kills per set, but has not played since Sept. 25 against Liberty. Megan Short ranks second in the Big South with a .391 hitting percentage, and is third with 3.22 kills per set. Savanna Burton is ranked sixth with 3.01 kills per set. Haley Kleespies leads the Big South in assists per set, at 11.02.

Series History
Liberty holds a 44-28 overall record against Radford in volleyball. The Lady Flames had won 24 straight meetings with the Highlanders before a 3-0 Radford win, Sept. 27, 2013 at the Dedmon Center. The two teams split the season series in both 2013 and 2014, with the home team winning all four meetings. Liberty has won 14 straight meetings against Radford at the Vines Center, since a 3-2 Highlanders victory, Nov. 6, 2001.

Liberty (2007 through 2012) and Radford (2013, 2014) have combined to win each of the last eight Big South regular-season volleyball titles.

Last Meeting
Liberty opened the 2015 Big South schedule with a 3-1 win at Radford, Sept. 25. The Lady Flames snapped their own six-match winless streak, while bringing the Highlanders' program-record-tying 15 match home winning streak to an end.

Liberty outhit Radford, .206-.079. Caroline Douglas scored 12 kills, while Sirena Vorster followed with 11 kills for the Lady Flames. Radford's Maddie Palmer sent down a match-high 16 kills to go with 11 digs.

Home Cooking
The Lady Flames have won eight out of their last nine home matches, and are 16-2 in their last 18 home contests. Liberty is 20-5 (.800) in its last 25 home matches, and 43-7 (.860) in their last 50 home contests, spanning the 2010 through 2015 seasons. Liberty is 94-29 (.764) at home, including 68-15 (.819) in home conference play under 12th-year head coach Shane Pinder.

Top Coaches
Liberty's Shane Pinder (2007, 2010, 2012) and Radford's Marci Jenkins (2011, 2013, 2014) have combined to win the last five Big South Volleyball Coach of the Year honors. Pinder and Jenkins are also tied for the most-ever Volleyball Coach of the Year awards in Big South history.

Also, Liberty won or shared six straight Big South regular-season titles, from 2007-12, before Radford earned the conference regular-season title in both 2013 and 2014.