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No. 2 Seed Lady Flames to Take On No. 3 Seed High Point in Big South Semifinal

November 17, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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No. 2 Seed Lady Flames to Take On No. 3 Seed High Point in Big South Semifinal

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Tournament Central Page

No. 2 seed Liberty (16-12) will face third-seeded High Point (21-9) in the second semifinal of the 2016 Big South Volleyball championship, Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames are hosting this week's Big South Volleyball Championship, Friday through Sunday at the Vines Center.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed Radford (23-5) will take on fourth-seeded Campbell (16-15) at 4:30 p.m. The championship match will take place at 4 p.m., Sunday, with the winner advancing to the 2016 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship.

Day one saw Campbell upend Charleston Southern, 3-1, before High Point downed UNC Asheville in four sets in the second quarterfinal.

Liberty and High Point split the regular-season series, with both teams winning on their home court.


Lady Flames at a Glance
Liberty went 11-3 in its final 14 matches during the regular season, as an eight-match winning streak (Sept. 30-Oct. 22) sparked the Lady Flames' late surge. The team went 5-2 in Big South five-set matches this season, the most 3-2 contests in conference play in program history. The Lady Flames lead the Big South with 2.45 blocks per set, ranking second with a .168 opponents' hitting percentage.

How to Follow the Lady Flames 
Live stats and live video will be available for all matches at the Big South Volleyball Championship. Fans can view all contests via live video streaming, free of charge, through the Big South Network. Sunday's championship match will be aired on ESPN3, with Chris Hemeyer calling play-by-play and Erin Hagen serving as color analyst.

Tournament Quick Points
Liberty is 36-18 all-time in Big South tournament matches, holding the conference record for tournament victories (36), tournament titles (7) and finals appearances (12).

Liberty won conference tournament titles in 1997, ‘99, 2001, ‘07, ‘08, ‘11 and ‘12.

The Lady Flames made finals appearances each year from 2007-12.

Liberty will be hosting the Big South Volleyball Championship for the third time. The Lady Flames hoisted the championship trophy on their home court in both 2001 and 2007.

The Lady Flames will look for its first postseason match win since the 2013 quarterfinal, and are seeking their first tournament championship since 2012.

Liberty is the No. 2 seed for the third time, and first since finishing as the 2009 runner-up. The Lady Flames won the 1999 title as the second-seeded team.

Liberty Volleyball By the Numbers
1    13th-year head coach Shane Pinder is Liberty's all-time winningest volleyball coach. At 238-175, Pinder is ranked second in coaching wins among Big South coaches all-time.

1a Liberty leads the Big South with 2.45 blocks per set. The last time the Lady Flames led the conference in blocks per set was 2013, when they averaged 2.38 blocks per set.

2    Liberty enters the Big South Volleyball Championship as the No. 2 seed, the third time the team has been the second-seeded team. The Lady Flames won the 1999 title as the No. 2 seed, and are 5-1 in tournament play when serving as the second seed.

3    This is the third time that Liberty will host the Big South Volleyball Championship. Each of the previous two times, 2001 and 2007, the Lady Flames won the title.

3a Leah Clayton (3), Anna Gragg (2) and Casey Goodwin combined to win six Big South Freshman of the Week honors in 2016, tying the conference record for most Freshman of the Week awards in a single season.

4    Shane Pinder has coached Liberty to four Big South tournament titles (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012). His next title will tie Winthrop's Joel McCartney (2001-05) for the most Big South volleyball championships won by a single head coach in conference history.

5    Liberty went 5-2 in five-set matches in Big South play, including 5-0 during an eight-match winning streak. Liberty's seven five-set Big South matches are a program record.

5a  Five different Lady Flames (Anna Willey - 11, Leah Clayton - 9, Hannah Morris - 3, Gabrielle Vess - 3 and Sydney Morris - 2), have recorded at least one double-double this season, marking the first time since 2009 that five Lady Flames posted a double-double.

6    On Sept. 30 at UNC Asheville, all six of Liberty's starters were freshmen (Payton Carter, Leah Clayton, Casey Goodwin, Anna Gragg, Hannah Morris and Kainah Williams).

7    Liberty has won a conference-record seven Big South tournament championships, with the seventh coming in 2012, a 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina.

7a  Leah Clayton is the seventh player in program history to be named Big South Freshman of the Year.

8    Anna Willey ranks eighth in program history with 2,201 career assists.

9    The Lady Flames have had nine Big South Tournament MVP's, in Laura Miller (1992), Ashley Fletcher (1997), Anthonia Akpama (1999), Rachel Harnack (2001), Erin McKeown (2002), Kallie Corbin (2007-08), Loren Thomas (2011) and Jade Craycraft (2012).

10 Liberty has posted 10 or more blocks 13 times this season, the most since a program rally-scoring record 14 10-block contests in 2006.

11  The Lady Flames' 11 conference wins are their most since going 12-2 in Big South play in 2012.

11a With 857 career digs, sophomore Margaret Latchford needs 11 more digs to pass Kelly Haseman for the most digs by a Liberty player in her first two seasons.

20  Leah Clayton has posted six 20-kill matches this year, while Casey Goodwin record a career-high 20 kills against USC Upstate. They are the first pair of Liberty freshman teammates since Anthonia Akpama and Kyrie Dorn in 1996 to both post a 20-kill match.

Lady Flames Earn Postseason Honors
Liberty placed four players on the Big South All-Conference team, led by first-team selection Leah Clayton. Junior Anna Willey was named to the second team, while junior Sirena Vorster and freshman Anna Gragg were listed among the Big South All-Conference honorable mention picks.

Additionally, Clayton was named the Big South Freshman of the Year, and was joined on the All-Freshman team by Gragg. Willey was voted to the All-Academic team.

The Lady Flames tied High Point for the most all-conference selections this season.

Clayton is the seventh Big South Freshman of the Year in program history, and first since Caroline Douglas in 2012.

2015 Championship Recap
For the second time in three years, Liberty and Radford played a thrilling five-set match in the 2015 Big South Volleyball Championship quarterfinal at the Millis Center in High Point, N.C. The Lady Flames won the first two sets, before Radford rallied to force a fifth set. Liberty led set five, 14-11, but the Highlanders fought off four match-point tries and won the set, 17-15.

Gabrielle Vess led the Lady Flames with 18 kills, while Caroline Douglas totaled 17 kills and 15 digs in her final career match.

Tale of Two Seasons
Following a five-set loss at Radford on Sept. 27, Liberty was 5-9 on the season, including 0-2 in Big South play. To that point in the season, the Lady Flames were hitting .162 as a team, compared to .157 by opponents. Additionally, Liberty averaged 11.98 kills per set.

On the verge of losing its third straight conference match, Sept. 30 at UNC Asheville, Liberty rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, and spark an eight-match winning streak. During the streak, the Lady Flames won five five-set matches, rallying from 2-1 deficits on four occasions. All told, Liberty went 5-2 in Big South five-set contests.

Liberty has gone 11-3 in its last 14 matches. During that span, Liberty has outhit opponents, .218-.177, while averaging 12.59 kills per set.

The Lady Flames swept each of their last three visitors to the Vines Center, where they went 5-1 in conference play this season.    

Championship Memories
Liberty downed Coastal Carolina on Nov. 18, 2012, to claim the Lady Flames' conference-record seventh Big South Volleyball Championship title, and most recent championship to date. The Lady Flames went on to face No. 8 national seed Minnesota, falling 3-0 (25-21, 25-10, 34-32).

Jade Craycraft was named the Big South Tournament MVP, becoming the third player in program history to earn Big South Freshman of the Year and Tournament MVP in a career. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Caroline Douglas and Loren Thomas.