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Red-Hot Lady Flames Return to the Road

October 18, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames have done something they had not accomplished since November 1998, winning five-straight matches by 3-0 scores.

The Lady Flames have done something they had not accomplished since November 1998, winning five-straight matches by 3-0 scores.

For the first time since November 1998, the Liberty volleyball team has swept five-consecutive foes by a 3-0 margin. The Lady Flames will aim to continue their hot streak on a road trip to Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina, which will be followed by a Tuesday evening home non-conference match against Norfolk State.

Liberty, 15-7 overall and 5-1 in the Big South, sits one game behind Winthrop for the conference lead. The Lady Flames will start their second go-around through the Big South schedule this weekend.

This Week's Schedule
Friday, Oct. 19
Liberty (15-7, 5-1 Big South) at Charleston Southern (9-13, 1-5 Big South) – 7 p.m. – CSU Field House
Saturday, Oct. 20
Liberty at Coastal Carolina (11-12, 3-3 Big South) – 2 p.m. – Kimbel Arena

Tuesday, Oct. 23
Norfolk State (5-20) at Liberty – 7 p.m. – Vines Center

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all three of Liberty's matches. They are accessible by clicking "Live Stats" on the volleyball schedule/results page of LibertyFlames.com. Video streaming of Friday's match at Charleston Southern will be provided through the Big South EDGE, for a cost of $4.95. More information is available here, or by clicking "Live Video" on the volleyball schedule/results page of LibertyFlames.com.

Tuesday's contest against Norfolk State will be broadcast on the Liberty Channel, by the announcing team of Ray Jones and Lee Beaumont. The Liberty Channel feed will also be available via the Big South EDGE. Again, click here for more information on the EDGE, or click "Live Video" on the volleyball schedule/results page.

A Look at Liberty
Liberty, coached by Shane Pinder (47-66 in his fourth season), claimed three 3-0 sweeps in four days, including home blankings of Presbyterian and UNC Asheville and a road triumph over Atlantic Sun Conference foe East Tennessee State. The Lady Flames' current five-match winning streak equals the longest of Pinder's tenure at Liberty, and three more victories will enable him to reach 50 for his career.

Freshman right-side hitter Nicki Scripko repeated as Big South Conference New Balance Freshman of the Week. She captured the award after hitting a career-high .591 versus Presbyterian last Friday, with a match-high 15 kills, and posting a .474 attack percentage and a double-double versus UNC Asheville on Sunday. Scripko hit .478 on the Lady Flames' recently-completed four-match homestand.

Sophomore middle blocker Chelaine McCarty has been a picture of consistency for the Lady Flames in recent weeks. She has hit .300 or higher in nine-consecutive matches, helping Liberty win seven of the nine tilts. The string of success has boosted her season attack percentage to .324, the highest percentage by a Lady Flame since Erin McKeown hit .338 in 2003.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Alysson Sanders enjoyed her birthday weekend, hitting an amazing .846 (11K, 0E, 13 TA) in the Lady Flames' matches versus Presbyterian and UNC Asheville. She was a perfect five-for-five on her attacks against the Bulldogs, on Sunday.

Jessica Nelson, also a redshirt junior outside hitter, celebrated her birthday in style as well, in Sunday's victory over conference rival UNC Asheville. She paced the Lady Flames with a dozen kills and three blocks. Nelson remains the team's season leader with 256 kills.

Top 10 Team
Liberty is currently ranked No. 7 nationally with 19.45 digs per game. The Lady Flames are averaging over three more digs per game than they did a season ago. Chattanooga leads the nation, coming up with 22.77 digs per game. The Lady Flames have recorded more digs than their opponent 17 times in 21 matches this season. Liberty is 14-3 when it outdigs its foe in a match.

Outstanding October
Ever since the calendar turned to October, the Lady Flames have been literally unbeatable. Liberty is 5-0 in matches and 15-0 in games during the year's 10th month, and has not lost since falling by a 3-1 count, Sept. 29 at Winthrop.

Milestone Watch
Sophomore setter Kallie Corbin went over the 2,000-assist plateau for her career last Friday against Presbyterian. She currently has 2,093 career assists, entering this weekend.

Meanwhile, Lara Bartolomeo, a senior libero, ranks fifth in Liberty history with 1,432 digs. She needs 48 digs to pass Erin McKeown for fourth on the list.

Stepping Up in Conference Action
Several Lady Flames have increased their production since the start of Big South Conference play and rank among the conference leaders for Big South matches only.

In Big South matches, McCarty leads all conference players with a .382 attack percentage and Corbin is tops with 14.67 assists per game. Meanwhile, Scripko is second in both attack percentage (.339) and kills per game (4.14).

Best in the Big South
Liberty leads the Big South Conference in four team statistical categories, entering the weekend. The Lady Flames top the conference in attack percentage (.214), assists (14.19 apg), kills (15.73 kpg) and blocks (2.27 bpg)

Individually, Corbin is the conference leader with 12.28 assists per game, and ranks No. 62 in the nation in the category. She also sits fifth, with 0.39 service aces per game.

McCarty has jumped to the top of the conference leaderboard with her .324 attack percentage. Fellow middle blocker Ashley Webber ranks second among Big South competitors with 0.99 blocks per game. Bartolomeo is Liberty's final top-five conference performer, sitting fifth in digs (4.34 dpg).

Scouting Reports
Charleston Southern
Liberty will be meeting Charleston Southern for the second time in 15 days, after sweeping the Lady Buccaneers, 3-0 (30-24, 30-19, 30-14) on Oct. 5, at the Vines Center.

The Lady Buccaneers, now 9-13 overall and 1-5 in conference play, are coached by Danyel Bellush, in her 11th season at Charleston Southern. She is nearing the 100-win milestone, as she brings a 98-211 career mark into the weekend.

Charleston Southern has already eclipsed its 2006 season win total of eight and is coming off a relatively easy, 3-0 home triumph over Savannah State on Tuesday. The Lady Buccaneers hit .304 as a team in the match, led by 5-8 sophomore outside hitter Ashlee Kadatz. Kadatz totaled 16 kills, nine digs and five aces on the night.

The Lady Buccaneers nearly sprung a major upset on their home court last Friday, against Big South-leading Winthrop. CSU pushed the visiting Eagles to five games, before losing, 16-14 in the final stanza. Winthrop survived the upset bid, and the Eagles' unbeaten streak against conference foes now stands at 60 straight.

An influx of seven freshmen has bolstered the Charleston Southern line-up this season, including two in particular—5-7 outside hitter Amanda Hill and 5-11 middle blocker Amberle Trinder. Hill paces the team with 252 kills and 244 digs, while Trinder sits fourth in the Big South with her .292 attack percentage.

Liberty, 24-4 all-time against CSU, will look to complete a regular-season sweep of the Lady Buccaneers, after the two squads split a year ago.

Coastal Carolina
The Lady Flames also just met Coastal Carolina two weeks ago, at the Vines Center. Liberty won the matinee, 3-0 (30-15, 30-22, 30-25), paced by Scripko's .448 attack percentage and 17 kills.

The Chanticleers enter the weekend with an 11-12 overall ledger. Coastal Carolina is listed fourth in the Big South standings, at 3-3. Kristen Bauer is 145-130 in her ninth season as the Chanticleers' coach.

Coastal Carolina will aim to snap a four-match losing skid. Most recently, the Chanticleers were swept by College of Charleston, 3-0 on Tueday.

Saturday's match will feature both of this season's two-time Big South New Balance Freshman of the Week award winners, Scripko and Chanticleer rookie Chelsy Kimes. A 5-9 outside hitter, Kimes ranks third in the Big South with 3.67 kills per game. She is also eighth with her 23 service aces. Kimes will hope to improve upon her first match against the Lady Flames, when she was held to seven kills on a .115 attack percentage.

Classmate Megan Bickford, a 6-1 middle blocker, has enjoyed a smooth transition from Olathe, Kan., to the college game as well. She ranks second to McCarty in the Big South in attack percentage (.319) and is fourth in the conference with 80 blocks.

Liberty leads the all-time head-to-head series, 20-16. The Lady Flames have won three of the last four meetings between the two teams.

Norfolk State
The Norfolk State Spartans, from Norfolk, Va., will visit the Vines Center Tuesday, for Liberty's next-to-last non-conference match prior to the Big South Championship. The Spartans, members of the MEAC, are guided by first-year head coach Jennifer Fry.

The Spartans, who went winless in the MEAC a season ago, are 2-3 in their first five conference encounters of 2007. Norfolk State's overall record stands at 5-20.

Fry's team consists of only seven active players, all of whom have appeared in every one of the Spartans' 77 games. The offensive attack has been very balanced for Norfolk State, with five players having contributed between 142 and 166 kills thus far.

Leading the way is Yolanda Roberts, a 5-9 junior outside hitter, who has totaled 166 kills. Solange Honore, a 5-8 sophomore from Trinidad, is the team's setter. She has posted 602 assists and a team-best 35 service aces on the season.

Norfolk State is 0-2 in its two previous trips to the Vines Center, comprising its only two match-ups with the Lady Flames. The Spartans participated in the Liberty Invitational in both 1996 and 1997, and dropped 3-0 decisions both times.

Overall, Liberty is 20-1 all-time versus MEAC opposition. The Lady Flames opened the year with a 3-0 sweep of MEAC member Howard, Aug. 24 at the Liberty Invitational Presented by Pepsi.