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Liberty Heads into 2010 Conference Play

September 23, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Kendle Rollins (left), Karyl Bacon and the Lady Flames will open 2010 Big South Conference play this weekend, setting out on a road trip to take on Gardner-Webb Friday and Presbyterian College on Saturday.

Kendle Rollins (left), Karyl Bacon and the Lady Flames will open 2010 Big South Conference play this weekend, setting out on a road trip to take on Gardner-Webb Friday and Presbyterian College on Saturday.

Live Video – Liberty at Gardner-Webb
Live Video – Liberty at Presbyterian College

The Lady Flames are gearing up for 2010 Big South Conference play, and will take on Gardner-Webb in the conference opener, Friday night, at 7 p.m. in Boiling Springs, N.C.

The following day, Liberty will head south to take on the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., at 6 p.m.

Head Coach Shane Pinder and the Lady Flames are coming off a 3-3 week, after claiming their home opener on Sept. 14 with a 3-1 win over James Madison, followed by a 2-3 record in two California tournaments.

Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
Both matches this weekend will be available to view on the Big South Network for a small fee. To access, click the links at the top of this page, or find the same link on the Schedule/Results page. In addition, live updates will be posted on Twitter under @libertyflames.

Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames are now 9-6 on the year, becoming the seventh Liberty squad in program history to win at least nine out of the first 15 matches. Other squads accomplishing the feat were 2008, 2007, 1996, 1987, 1986 and 1978.

This year, the Lady Flames are outhitting their opponents, 716 kills to 645, and have posted 83 service aces, compared to 47 for their counterparts.

This weekend, Liberty will look to bounce back, as the Lady Flames dropped a 3-0 decision to Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 18.

National Leader
Libero Kelly Haseman is one of the elite defensive players in the nation, ranking No. 12 with 5.53 digs per set. Leading the country in the category is Nicholls State's Danielle Daigle, who is averaging 6.0 digs per set.

Haseman recorded 30-plus digs in three straight matches, making her the first Lady Flame in history to accomplish the feat. She is also the second player in program history to post 30 or more digs in three matches, following Theresa Bream, who recorded five 30-plus dig matches during the 1990 season.

All-Tournament Recognition
Karyl Bacon has been named to all four all-tournament teams this season, making the mark at the ECU Classic, the UVA Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup, the Elon Phoenix Classic and most recently, the Cal State Fullerton Classic. Jade Craycraft was also a recipient of the honor at the ECU Classic and the UVA Jefferson Cup, while Lillie Happel picked up her first collegiate award as an all-tournament honoree at the Elon Phoenix Classic.

Conference Openers
The Lady Flames have only dropped one conference opener in the last 12 seasons, a 2004 road loss to Birmingham Southern (0-3). Six of those 11 wins were picked up on the road. The Lady Flames and the Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb have never faced each other to open conference play.
Liberty is 15-4 all-time in conference openers, and has won five straight.

Happy Homecoming
Karyl Bacon, a native of Temecula, Calif., had a stellar performance in her home state, setting a new personal best with 23 kills in a match against West Virginia on Saturday. She also recorded the first 20-20 match of her career, notching 22 kills and 20 digs in a five set loss to UC Irvine, Sept. 16.

The last Liberty player to post 20 or more digs and 20 or more kills in a single match was Jessica Nelson, who finished with 20 kills and 33 digs against William & Mary on Sept. 15, 2007

Bacon is inching toward a career milestone of 1,000 kills, as she currently tallies 895. She also ties for No. 1 in the Big South with 10 double-doubles this year.

In addition, Hannah Anderson, who hails from Rocklin, Calif., enjoyed her first three starts of the season against Yale, Penn and Cal State Fullerton.

Movin' On Up
This weekend's matches will feature four members of the 2009 Big South All-Freshman team. Loren Thomas represents Liberty, while Gardner-Webb's Molly Rhyne and Presbyterian's Allison Brown and Presley Mabry will also see action this weekend.

Pacing the Big South
The Lady Flames are leading the Big South with a 9-6 overall record, and are one of two Big South teams with a winning record. UNC Asheville is close behind at 7-6, followed by Coastal Carolina (7-7) and Presbyterian College (6-7). Teams trailing are Radford (6-8), Charleston Southern (5-9), High Point (5-9), Gardner-Webb (4-10) and Winthrop (3-9).

As a team, the Lady Flames lead the conference in both kills (716) and assists (657). Liberty ranks second with a .215 attack percentage, behind UNC Asheville (.229).

Individually, Kelly Haseman leads all Big South players with 5.53 digs per set, while Jade Craycraft ranks in the top five in two different categories (second with 9.84 assists per set and third with 0.38 aces per set), while Karyl Bacon is No. 2 with 4.29 kills per set.

Craycraft is the only Big South freshman to rank in the top five in two different statistical categories.

It's Conference Time
2010 Big South Conference play officially opened Tuesday night, as Charleston Southern visited Coastal Carolina and UNC Asheville hosted Gardner-Webb. Both matches ended in sweeps, as the Chanticleers beat the Bucs, 3-0 and the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville ousted Gardner-Webb, 3-0.

Scouting the Competition

Gardner-Webb (4-10, 0-1 Big South)
The Bulldogs are now on a four-match losing streak after falling to UNC Asheville, 3-0, Tuesday night. Prior to that, Gardner-Webb dropped three in a row at the Spartan Spiketacular in Greensboro, N.C., falling to Norfolk State, Morgan State and UNC Greensboro. The Bulldogs' last victory was a 3-1 win at home over USC Upstate on Sept. 14. Gardner-Webb is 3-1 in home contests this season.

Liberty has never dropped a match to Gardner-Webb, claiming all seven meetings between the two squads.

The Lady Flames won both matches against the Bulldogs during the regular season last year, 3-2 and 3-0. Liberty picked up another 3-0 win over Gardner-Webb in the first round of the Big South Championship.

Middle blocker Laura Wilcox ranks fourth in the conference with a .277 hitting percentage and 0.35 aces per set. Freshman middle blocker Tyler Cockrell is No. 3 in the Big South, averaging 1.04 blocks per set.

Additionally, Gardner-Webb Head Coach Chris Phillips was the head coach at Liberty for 11 seasons, leading the program from 1992-97 and from 1999-2003.

Presbyterian College (6-7, 0-0 Big South)
The Blue Hose are coming off a five-set win over visiting South Carolina State, Tuesday night. Prior to that, Presbyterian dropped all three matches at the Kennesaw State Tournament, falling to Kennesaw State, Ohio State and Troy.

The Lady Flames have won five out of six all-time meetings with the Blue Hose, sweeping both 2009 matches, 3-0. The last time Presbyterian came out on top was on Nov. 8, 2008, when the Blue Hose defeated the visiting Lady Flames, 3-2.

Senior middle blocker Amanda Kettles leads all Big South players with a .319 attack percentage, and ranks second with 0.42 aces per set. Fellow senior, setter Kiley Ruppe, is third in the conference, averaging 9.74 assists per set.