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Scripko Tabbed Big South Freshman of the Year; Pinder Voted Coach of the Year

November 14, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Head coach Shane Pinder and freshman Nicki Scripko were both big winners at the Big South volleyball awards banquet, Wednesday evening at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg.

Head coach Shane Pinder and freshman Nicki Scripko were both big winners at the Big South volleyball awards banquet, Wednesday evening at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg.

Liberty garnered two of the four major awards announced at this evening's annual Big South volleyball awards banquet, held at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg. Right-side hitter Nicki Scripko claimed the Big South Freshman of the Year trophy, while Shane Pinder won the first Big South Coach of the Year award of his career.

The evening's other two major awards went to Winthrop, who shared the Big South regular-season title with the Lady Flames. Junior middle blocker Shannon Sitzmann took home the hardware as Big South Player of the Year, while junior libero Pohai Nu'uhiwa captured the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor.

Scripko (Fayetteville, N.C.), also a first-team All-Big South selection and a member of the All-Freshman squad, and Pinder were two of Liberty's five award recipients on the evening. Additionally, Kallie Corbin (So., S, Beaverton, Ore.) gave the Lady Flames a second All-Big South first-team selection, classmate Chelaine McCarty (MB, Houston, Ala.) made second team All-Big South and redshirt junior Jessica Nelson (OH, Tokyo, Japan) was a Big South All-Academic team honoree.

Scripko is Liberty's second-consecutive Big South Freshman of the Year, after Corbin won the award in 2006. She is only the second Lady Flame freshman ever to be named to the first-team all-conference roster, joining Anthonia Akpama, who achieved the honor in 1996.

Scripko, who won four-consecutive Big South New Balance Freshman of the Week awards during the season, stepped up her performance during conference play. She ranked second in the Big South in both hitting percentage (.343) and kills per game (4.26 kpg) in conference-only matches. Her 319 kills are the most by a Liberty rookie since assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden put down 444 kills in 2001.

Pinder, in his fourth season as Liberty's head coach, garnered his first Big South Coach of the Year award and the first by a Lady Flame volleyball coach since Chris Phillips won the distinction in 2003. He has guided a young Liberty team to a 24-7 overall record and an 11-1 Big South ledger. The Lady Flames ended Winthrop's 63-match Big South winning streak and shared the regular-season conference title with the Eagles. Liberty is currently on a school-record 14-match winning streak and recorded 10-straight 3-0 sweeps for the first time in school history.

Corbin is a part of the All-Big South first-team roster for the first time in her career, and finished just two points behind Sitzmann for the Big South Player of the Year award. The sophomore setter has won three Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week awards this season and became the first Lady Flame ever to be named National Player of the Week, on Oct. 30.

Corbin, who has recorded two triple-doubles this season, is the conference leader and ranks No. 30 in the nation with 12.72 assists per game. She also sits third in the Big South with 0.39 aces per game. Corbin has set for a Liberty offense which has hit a Big South-best .236 this season.

McCarty has excelled in her first season at Liberty, after transferring from Auburn. She leads the conference with a .340 attack percentage, which is the highest attack percentage by a Lady Flame since rally scoring was instituted in 2001. A model of consistency, McCarty has hit .300 or higher in 17 of her last 18 outings. The Big South Player of the Week on Sept. 24, the middle blocker sits ninth in the conference in kills and 10th in blocks.

Nelson has made a successful return to the volleyball court after missing the entire 2006 campaign due to injury. She leads Liberty's balanced attack with 347 kills and ranks second on the team with 430 digs. Nelson ranks seventh in the Big South in both categories and is second in digs among non-liberos. A family and child development major, Nelson owns a 3.36 GPA and is a three-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll member. This is her first recognition on the Big South All-Academic team.

The Lady Flames, seeded No. 1 in the Big South Volleyball Championship, will play a semifinal match versus either No. 4 Coastal Carolina or No. 5 Radford, Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center. Liberty is seeking its first Big South tournament title since 2001.

2007 Big South Conference Volleyball Award Winners

First Team All-Conference
Megan Bickford, Coastal Carolina
Kristina Taylor, High Point
Kallie Corbin, Liberty
Nicki Scripko, Liberty

Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Winthrop
Shannon Sitzmann, Winthrop

Second Team All-Conference
Amanda Hill, Charleston Southern
Audie Gonzalez, High Point
Ashley Mellott, High Point
Chelaine McCarty, Liberty
Lindsey Poole, Radford
Kelsey Benorden, UNC Asheville
Raquel Miotto, UNC Asheville

All-Freshman Team
Amanda Hill, Charleston Southern
Megan Bickford, Coastal Carolina
Chelsy Kimes, Coastal Carolina
Julie Hershkowitz, High Point
Nicki Scripko, Liberty
Kelsey Benorden, UNC Asheville

All-Academic Team
Jill Nyhof, Coastal Carolina
Nichole Diller, Charleston Southern
Lauren Hatch, High Point
Jessica Nelson, Liberty
Lauren Mason, Presbyterian
Melinda Clelland, Radford
Ashley Wrightenberry, UNC Asheville
Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Winthrop

Player of the Year
Shannon Sitzmann, Winthrop

Freshman of the Year
Nicki Scripko, Liberty

Coach of the Year
Shane Pinder, Liberty

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Winthrop