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Liberty Hits the Road for Two Conference Contests

October 27, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jade Craycraft and the Lady Flames will travel south this weekend, taking on Charleston Southern Friday night and Winthrop Saturday afternoon.

Jade Craycraft and the Lady Flames will travel south this weekend, taking on Charleston Southern Friday night and Winthrop Saturday afternoon.

Live Stats – Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Live Video – Liberty vs. Charleston Southern

Live Stats – Liberty vs. Winthrop

Live Video – Liberty vs. Winthrop

Coming off a 3-0 appearance at home last week, the Liberty Lady Flames will now head back out on the road, with two Big South matchups scheduled for this weekend. Liberty will face Charleston Southern in Charleston, S.C., Friday at 7 p.m., before traveling on to Rock Hill, S.C., for a 2 p.m. contest against Winthrop on Saturday.

In their first meeting with Charleston Southern this year, the Lady Flames walked away with a 3-0 sweep at the Vines Center on Oct. 2. Liberty didn't fare as well against Winthrop, dropping its only conference contest to the Eagles, 3-1, on Oct. 1.

Keeping Up with the Lady Flames
This weekend's matches 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 stats will be provided for each match by each school's respective Athletics Communications office. Live stats can also be accessed by clicking the link at the top of this page, or by clicking the same link on the Schedule/Results page.

Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames (19-7, 10-1 Big South) enjoyed a successful performance last week, defeating High Point (3-1), Presbyterian College (3-0) and Gardner-Webb (3-0) for three straight home wins.

Liberty has only dropped three out of the last 21 sets played over the course of its seven-match winning streak. The last time the Lady Flames won seven in a row was in 2008, when Head Coach Shane Pinder's squad started the season at 8-0.

The Lady Flames are currently the top team in the Big South with a 10-1 conference record. High Point ranks second with a 9-2 conference mark, as both Panther losses came to Liberty.

Notable Marks
Liberty is now 10-1 in conference play, becoming the fifth squad in program history to win 10 out of the first 11 conference matches of the season. This year's team also has a chance to make history, as the Lady Flames could possibly post the most conference wins since the program joined the Big South in 1993.

Liberty has posted 13 league wins three different times, in 2003, 2008 and 2009. Should Liberty win out this season, the team would record a program-best and all-time Big South Conference high 15 league victories.

In addition, Liberty has won at least 19 matches overall for the last three seasons.

Too Hot to Handle
The Lady Flames are currently leading their opponents in all statistical categories. They lead their opposition in kills (1,260 to 1,065), attack percentage (.239 to .167), assists (1,160 to 996), digs (1,339 to 1,277) and blocks (194.5 to 154). Additionally, Liberty has recorded more than twice as many aces as its counterparts, 169 to 75.

Speaking of Serving…
The Lady Flames have recorded double digits in service aces in six matches this year, including a season-high 18 against Gardner-Webb on Saturday. Lillie Happel accounted for six of those aces, a career-high for the freshman, marking the most aces by a Lady Flame since Kallie Corbin posted nine against Navy on Sept. 15, 2006.

The 18 aces marks the most aces recorded by a Liberty squad since Sept. 13, 2002, when the Lady Flames blasted 21 aces in a 3-0 sweep over Delaware State at the Vines Center.

Currently, the Lady Flames account for No. 3, 4 and 5 in the Big South rankings in the aces category, as Jade Craycraft is third (35 aces, 0.37 per set), Lillie Happel is fourth (32 aces, 0.37 per set) and Erica Manor ranks fifth (26 aces, 0.35 per set).

Award-Winning Duo
Lillie Happel and Kendle Rollins each received the first conference honors of their careers this week, as Happel was named the Big South Conference Freshman of the Week and Rollins took the Big South Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Happel, an outside hitter, finished last week with with eight kills on a .375 attack percentage to go along with a career-high six aces, eight digs and one block in the 3-0 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday. She has posted over a .300 attack percentage in three out of the last four matches.

Rollins, a redshirt freshman, tied a career-high seven blocks against Presbyterian College on Friday, marking her third consecutive match with seven rejections. She currently leads the team with 96 blocks on the year, and ranks third in the Big South, averaging 1.02 blocks per set.

A Solid Attack
The Lady Flames have hit above .300 in nine matches this season, and have been victorious in each contest doing so. Also, Liberty has posted a .400 or better attack percentage once, in a 3-0 sweep over Charleston Southern on Oct. 2.

Offensive Balance
Five Lady Flames have posted seven or more kills in the same match on five different occasions this year, most recently against High Point on Oct. 19. Liberty was victorious in all five of those contests.

As a team, the Lady Flames have recorded 40 or more kills in nine of the last 10 matches, including a season-high 70 against Winthrop on Oct. 1.

Brilliant Blocking
Liberty has jumped for double digits in blocks in four of the last five matches, tying a season high with 12 blocks against Coastal Carolina (Oct. 9) and UNC Asheville (Oct. 16). The Lady Flames lead the Big South in the category, averaging 2.07 blocks per set.

Craycraft is Crucial
Freshman setter Jade Craycraft ranks No. 3 in the Big South, averaging 10.15 assists per set, as Liberty leads all conference teams with 12.34 assists per set. Craycraft also ranks third in assists in conference-only matches, averaging 10.64 assists per set.

High-Quality Haseman
Kelly Haseman, who has ranked as high as 12th nationally in digs per set, needs only 25 more digs to surpass Nikki Keznor (1993) in the fifth-place spot in Liberty program history on the single-season top five list. Also, Haseman is in a position to become the first player in school history to post two 500-dig seasons during her career. She accomplished her first last year, with 560 digs.

Haseman already made history this season when she recorded 30-plus digs in three straight matches (Sept. 14-17 vs. James Madison, UC Irvine and West Virginia), 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 in a single season, following Theresa Bream, who recorded five 30-plus dig matches during the 1990 season.

Haseman is also the only player in the Big South to record three 30-plus dig matches this year.

Awesome Anderson
Hannah Anderson has come alive as the regular season winds down, as she hit .462 against UNC Asheville on Oct. 16 and .562 against High Point on Oct. 19. The sophomore right-side hitter recorded a career-high 14 kills against UNC Asheville, and currently ranks first in the Big South with 0.46 aces per set against conference opponents.

Excellent in Even Sets
The Lady Flames have fared well in even-numbered sets this season, winning Set 2 in 21 out of 26 matches this year, and taking Set 4 in 10 out of 13 matches.

Big South Leaders
While the Lady Flames lead the Big South in the standings, the team also ranks first in five out of seven statistical categories: kills (13.40 per set), hitting percentage (.239), assists (12.34 per set), blocks (2.07 per set) and aces (1.80 per set).

Loren Thomas and Kendle Rollins are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in overall hitting percentage. Thomas has tallied a .305 attack percentage, while Rollins sits at .299. Karyl Bacon is third with 4.10 kills per set, while Kelly Haseman leads all conference players with 5.15 digs per set.

In conference matches, Liberty leads all Big South teams with a .275 hitting percentage and a dominating 2.21 aces per set. Individually, Thomas ranks No. 2 with a .374 attack percentage against conference opponents, while Rollins is first with 1.41 blocks per set in Big South matches.

1,000/1,000 Club Welcomes New Member
Senior outside hitter Karyl Bacon achieved a milestone on Oct. 16, as her 18 kills against UNC Asheville pushed her past the 1,000 kill mark for her career. Bacon became the ninth player in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs, as she now sits at 1,044 kills and 1,388 digs.

The most recent player to join the elite 1,000/1,000 Club was Jessica Nelson, who played for Liberty from 2004-2008. She ended her career with 1,089 kills and 1,178 digs. Before Nelson, current assistant coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden accomplished the feat, recording 1,789 kills and 1,594 digs in her career (2001-04).

Smooth Sailing
The Lady Flames are undefeated (6-0) in three-set matches against conference opponents this season, 3-1 in four-set contests and 1-0 in five-setters.

Overall, Liberty has won eight out of 11 three-set matches on the year, and seven out of nine contests that ended in four sets.

Liberty hasn't been swept by a Big South opponent since Oct. 21, 2006, when Charleston Southern took a 3-0 win in Charleston, S.C. Since then, the Lady Flames have won 33 straight three-set matches against conference opponents.

Scouting the Competition
Charleston Southern (10-16, 4-7 Big South)
The Bucs have hit a bit of a skid in the second half of the season, dropping three of the last four matches. They most recently dropped a 3-0 decision to College of Charleston, Tuesday night at home.

In this year's first meeting between the two squads, Liberty hit a commanding .406, while holding the Bucs to .109 in the 3-0 sweep. Four Lady Flames (Karyl Bacon, Kendle Rollins, Lillie Happel and Loren Thomas) recorded eight or more kills to lead the balanced Liberty attack.

The Bucs are led by offensive standout Amanda Hill, who has tallied 444 kills on the year, and needs only nine more to tie Liberty Assistant Coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden in the No. 3 spot in Big South history for career kills. Hill currently has 1,780, while Vaden ended her career with 1,789.

Liberty is now 31-4 all-time against Charleston Southern, winning the last eight meetings between the two.

The Lady Flames' last loss to Charleston Southern came on Oct. 21, 2006, a 3-0 setback on the road.

Winthrop (10-13, 7-4 Big South)
Liberty's only conference loss this season came at the hands of the Eagles, 3-1, on Oct. 1 at the Vines Center. Despite double-digit kills from Kendle Rollins, Karyl Bacon, Lillie Happel and Loren Thomas, Winthrop walked away with the victory. Outside hitter Kaley Viola paced the Eagle attack with 16 kills in the contest.

Middle hitter Becca Toor leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 263 kills and a .335 attack percentage, while as a team, the Eagles lead the Big South with 16.36 digs per set. Winthrop also leads the conference in kills against Big South opponents, averaging 14.12 kills per set as a team.

Most recently, Winthrop dropped a 3-1 decision to Coastal Carolina, Tuesday night. The Eagles have now lost three straight, with their last win coming on Oct. 19, a 3-0 victory over Charleston Southern.

Liberty is 24-16 all-time against Winthrop, and the Lady Flames have won six of the last seven meetings.

Collectively, Liberty and Winthrop have won 10 out of the last 13 Big South titles (five each).