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Liberty Opens NIVC Play Against La Salle on Saturday at Vines Center

December 4, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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Liberty will host the first two rounds of the NIVC, starting Saturday against La Salle.
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Tournament Notes
Tournament Central
Coach Johnson Press Conference
Player Perspective - Hannah Morris/Casey Goodwin
Player Perspective - Amelia Johnson/Macy Phillips

The Liberty volleyball team (19-11, 11-5 ASUN) will make its first postseason appearance since 2012, competing in the 2019 NIVC. The Lady Flames open up NIVC play on Saturday at 7 p.m. at  the Vines Center against La Salle (15-13, 8-6 A-10). The winner will face the winner of High Point (20-12, 12-2 Big South) and Morehead State (23-9, 12-4 OVC), Sunday at 3 p.m.

Liberty has won all four meetings all-time against La Salle, with the last being Aug. 31, 1996. The Lady Flames have a long history with High Point, meeting every year since 1999. The Panthers edged Liberty in the Big South semifinals in both 2016 and 2017, the Lady Flames' final two seasons in the Big South. Liberty last met Morehead State on Sept. 12, 2003 in the Vines Center, a 3-2 Liberty win.

1. Third-seeded Liberty went 1-1 at the 2019 ASUN Volleyball Championship, coming back for a 3-1 win over North Florida before falling in straight sets to eventual champion Kennesaw State in the semifinals. The Lady Flames averaged 4.07 blocks per set during the conference tournament, holding opponents to a .141 hitting percentage.

2. Senior Anna Gragg and redshirt junior Amelia Johnson were both named to the All-ASUN first team, while senior Casey Goodwin was named second team all-conference. Johnson, the 2019 ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was joined on the All-Academic Team by senior Hannah Morris.

3. Johnson is second in the ASUN with 426 kills. She was named to the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. Johnson's 29 kills against Stetson and North Alabama are tied for the most by a Lady Flame in any match under the 25-point system.

4. Gragg, the fourth four-time all-conference performer in program history, is 31st nationally in hitting percentage (.385). She is the first player in program history with four 100-block seasons. Gragg needs eight more kills to become the 17th player in program history to score 1,000 career kills.

5. Goodwin, the ninth player in program history to be named all-conference three years in a row, was a first team All-ASUN pick last year. She averaged 5.00 kills at a .343 pace during Liberty's last five matches, and ranks 14th in program history with 1,154 career kills.

1. Liberty has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances (1997, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012). The Lady Flames have won two postseason sets, one against No. 7 California in 2007 and one at No. 4 Nebraska in 2008. Liberty's last postseason match to date was Nov. 30, 2012, when the Lady Flames fell at Minnesota 3-0, a match that featured a 34-32 third set.

Team Notes
- Liberty needs one more win to post the 22nd 20-win season in program history. The team's most recent 20-win season came in 2014, when the Lady Flames went 23-10.

- Liberty went 9-2 at home this season, and is 16-5 at the Vines Center under second-year head coach Trevor Johnson. The Lady Flames had a 13-match home winning streak snapped by Stetson on Oct. 13. Liberty has outhit opponents .276-.148 at the Vines Center this season.

- Liberty has posted 10 or more blocks in four straight matches and 15 total times this season after recording 12 10-block matches in 2018. With 288.5 blocks, Liberty needs nine more blocks to break the program's single-season program record of 297 blocks, set in 2007.

- The Lady Flames are now ranked 22nd in the nation with 2.65 blocks per set.

- Liberty enters the postseason as one of seven teams with three or more players (Anna Gragg, Casey Goodwin, Kailey Macy) with 100 or more blocks. The others are VCU, Stephen F. Austin, UCF, New Mexico State, Towson and Purdue.

- On Nov. 17 against Kennesaw State, Liberty fell 38-36 in set one. It was the team's longest set since falling 43-41 in set one at Purdue Fort Wayne, Aug. 25, 2018.

- The Lady Flames are 17-10 in sets decided by just two points and 8-5 in extended sets this year.

- Liberty is 16-2 when winning the first set and 3-9 in matches where the opponent wins set one. Liberty's only three comeback wins this season came against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7, versus Northern Arizona on Sept. 21 and in the ASUN quarterfinal against North Florida Nov. 21.

- At North Florida, Nov. 10, Casey Goodwin (19), Anna Gragg (16) and Amelia Johnson (15) became the first set of three Liberty players to score 15 or more kills in the same match since Caroline Douglas (23), Jade Vorster (16) and Gabrielle Vess (15) did so against Gardner-Webb, Nov. 14, 2015.

- Since joining the ASUN in 2018, the Lady Flames are 21-11 all-time in ASUN regular-season matches, and have posted back-to-back seasons with 10 or more conference wins for the first time since 2007-12, when Liberty recorded six straight seasons with 10 or more Big South victories.

- If Anna Gragg were to reach 1,000 career kills (eight away from that mark), that would make this the fourth time in program history that two Lady Flames have reached the 1,000 kill milestone in the same season. In 1998, Anthonia Akpama and Kyrie Dorn both scored their 1,000th kill, while the same happened in 2003 (Jennifer Belk, Erin McKeown) and 2009 (Chelaine McCarty, Nicki Scripko).

- Amelia Johnson (three times), Casey Goodwin (twice) and Anna Gragg (vs. Northern Arizona) all have at least one 20-kill match this season. The last time three Lady Flames had a 20-kill match in the same season was 2003 (Erin McKeown, Becky Rudnick and Tatiana Tkachuk).

- Liberty is 4-1 in five-set matches this season, and 2-1 in five-setters in ASUN play in 2019.

- The 2018 Lady Flames set a program record for most players to record a 10-kill match in a single season (9). So far this season, seven Lady Flames (Amelia Johnson - 23, Casey Goodwin - 16, Anna Gragg - 8, Rajini Fitzmaurice - 3, Lilly Kruse - 1, Kailey Macy - 1, Payton Carter - 1) have recorded a 10-kill match. Carter's 12-kill match on Sunday was her first double-digit effort of 2019.

- Liberty is the only ASUN team with an active 1,000-kill player, a 2,000-assist player and a 400-block player.

- The Lady Flames defeated both Virginia and Virginia Tech this season, the first time in program history Liberty has beaten two ACC opponents in the same year.

- Liberty was the only ASUN team to post a 3-0 sweep over ASUN regular-season champion FGCU this season, doing so on Sept. 24 in the Vines Center in both teams' conference opener.

- Liberty's 12 aces against North Alabama on Nov. 3 were its most since serving up 12 aces at Gardner-Webb on Oct. 22, 2016.

- Seniors Anna Gragg and Casey Goodwin have both participated in US National Team tryouts.

- In the last two years in the NIVC, the host team has gone 14-2 in first-round matches. However, the host team has only made it past the first weekend nine times out of 16 tries in the last two years.

- Nine teams (Alabama A&M, Bowling Green, Georgia Tech, Miami (Ohio), Tulane, Tulsa, UNLV, Wyoming) from the 2018 NIVC are back in the NIVC field this year while six (Iowa State, UC Santa Barbara, Northern Colorado, Northern Kentucky, Ball State, St. John's) made the NCAA Tournament from the 2018 NIVC field.