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LU Draws No. 4 Nebraska in NCAA First Round

November 30, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames keep a close eye on the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship selection show.

The Lady Flames keep a close eye on the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship selection show.

View full NCAA Tournament bracket (PDF format)

View photo gallery of Liberty's selection show party

The two-time defending Big South champion Liberty volleyball team will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for its first-round match in the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, the Lady Flames learned Sunday evening. Liberty will face Nebraska, the No. 4 national seed, Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern at the Nebraska Coliseum.

Liberty's (25-8) first-ever meeting with Nebraska (27-2) will be preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a contest between UAB (26-7) and Missouri State (23-12). Friday's two winning teams will square off Saturday at 6 p.m., with the victor advancing to the Seattle Regional Tournament.

"This is a tremendous challenge for our program," stated Liberty Head Volleyball Coach Shane Pinder. "That is a tough environment to play in. However, this will be a great experience for our program as a whole, and we are preparing to compete and preparing to win."

The Lady Flames earned the Big South Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship by capturing back-to-back conference titles for the first time in program history. Liberty enters the NCAA Tournament on a five-match winning streak, including a 3-1 triumph over Coastal Carolina in the Big South Championship match, Nov. 23.

Liberty, making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, is attempting to become the first Big South team to win a tournament match. Last season, the Lady Flames won a set in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, losing to eventual Final Four qualifier California, 3-1, in the opening round.

The Lady Flames, led by Big South Player of the Year and Tournament MVP Kallie Corbin (Jr., S, Beaverton, Ore.), got a taste of Big 12 Conference volleyball earlier this season, at the Varney's Kansas State Invitational. Liberty dropped a 3-1 decision to nationally-ranked Kansas State at Ahearn Field House on Sept. 13.

Nebraska, the 2006 national champion, won a share of its fifth straight Big 12 title, going 18-2 in conference play. The Huskers' lineup features 6-2 outside hitter Jordan Larson, a two-time All-American and one of head coach John Cook's three seniors.

Larson and her classmates have never lost a match at the Nebraska Coliseum, going 70-0 at home thus far in their careers. Overall, the Cornhuskers have won 85 consecutive home contests. Nebraska has developed a sizable fan base, as the Cornhuskers have sold out 118 consecutive home matches at the Nebraska Coliseum, which seats 4,030 spectators.

"We know we'll be playing in front of a full house at Nebraska," added Pinder. "The Huskers have a big team and play physical at the net. They serve well and have players who can score from pin to pin. We need to block well and disrupt what they like to do."

The state of Nebraska will also be the site of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Final Four, slated for Dec. 18 and 20 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.

2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship
First and Second Rounds at Nebraska Coliseum (Lincoln, Neb.)

First Round – Friday, Dec. 5
Match 1 – UAB (26-7) vs. Missouri State (23-12) – 5:30 p.m.
Match 2 – Liberty (25-8) at No. 4 Nebraska (27-2) – 8 p.m.

Second Round – Saturday, Dec. 6
Match 3 – Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2 – 6 p.m.
(Winner to Seattle Regional)

Note: All times listed are Eastern.