Big South Announces Volleyball Championship Seeds

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Liberty and Winthrop finished the season with a 12-2 Big South record and was named the Big South Volleyball Regular-Season Co-Champions. The Lady Flames defeated Winthrop to break the tie and earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big South Volleyball championship, it was determined today as the Conference season concluded this afternoon. The tournament will begin on Thursday, Nov. 17 and will be played at the CSU Fieldhouse on the campus of Charleston Southern University.

Radford finished the League slate with a 9-5 record to grab the No. 3 position, while UNC Asheville closed out Big South play with a 7-7 mark to earn the No. 4 seed.  Campbell and High Point each turned in identical 6-8 records in League play.  The Camels picked up a pair of wins over High Point to break the tie and pick up the No. 5 seed, leaving High Point with the No. 6 slot.  Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb also finished the Conference regular season tied as each school posted 5-9 records.  The Chanticleers own the tiebreaker via their win over the Runnin' Bulldogs during the season to take the No. 7 seed, with Gardner-Webb rounding out the seeds at No. 8.

The 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship begins Thursday, Nov. 17 with four matches, and concludes with the Championship game on Sunday, Nov. 20.  The Big South's tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.  The Conference Championship schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 17 - Charleston, S.C.
Match 1:  No. 1 Liberty vs. No. 8 Gardner-Webb, 12:00pm ET
Match 2:  No. 4 UNC Asheville vs. No. 5 Campbell, 2:30pm ET
Match 3:  No. 2 Winthrop vs. No. 7 Coastal Carolina, 5:00pm ET
Match 4:  No. 3 Radford vs. No. 6 High Point, 7:30pm ET

Friday, Nov. 18 (semifinials) - Charleston, S.C.
Match 5:  Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner, 4:30pm ET
Match 6:  Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner, 7:00pm ET

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Finals) - Charleston, S.C.
Match 7:  Match 5 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 2:00pm

Comeback Falls Short for Camels against Coastal, 3-2
BUIES CREEK, N.C.-Down two sets to none, Campbell rallied to force a fifth frame, but fell short to Coastal Carolina 3-2 (22-25, 15-25, 25-20-25-13-10-15) in the Big South and regular season finale for both teams Saturday in Gore Arena.

CCU moves to 13-19 on the season and 5-9 in Big South play, while Campbell falls to 13-17 and 6-8 in conference matches.

Ericka Lightsey paced CCU with 14 kills and 10 digs while Kindra Bell and Lian Bernett added 13 and 12 scores, respectively. Bailey, a sophomore middle blocker, tacked on three blocks, while Bernett, a freshman right side, posted 11 digs and two aces.  Sam Skryd notched 47 assists and 13 digs, while Lindsay Gill gathered 27 digs in the win.

Freshman Brooke Kelley led the Camels with 14 kills and six digs, while junior outside hitter Jordan Reaves notched 10 kills and nine digs. Senior middle Annie Kobeski collected nine kills with four blocks. Sophomore setter Heather Wilson posted 46 assists with 10 digs. Senior libero Kelsey Campbell tied a season-high with 24 digs. Freshman outside hitter Lorin Thomas grabbed eight kills.

Tied at 11-all in the first, A Bernett kill sparked a 6-2 run for Coastal, who held on for the 25-22 opening set win. The Chanticleers led from wire to wire in the second to take a 25-15 win, paced by six kills from Lian Bernett.

Tied again at 11 in the third, the Camels rallied with an 8-2 run to take a 19-13 lead, winning the set 25-20 on one of Kelley's five kills in the frame.

Knotted at five in the fourth stanza, the Camels rallied for a 12-2 run to command a 17-7 advantage.

After Campbell opened with a 6-3 lead, CCU posted a 10-2 spurt, capped by a pair of Lightsey kills. The Chanticleers then held on to take the set 15-10, and the match 3-2.

Up next for the Camels and Chanticleers will be the Big South Tournament, starting next Thursday, Nov. 17 in Charleston, S.C.

HPU Tops Charleston Southern in Regular Season Finale
HIGH POINT, N.C. - The High Point University volleyball team held off Charleston Southern for a 3-1 win in the regular season finale. Freshman Kristin Heldt (Frankfort, Ill./Peotone) led the team with 15 kills and senior Breanna Holliday (Hendersonville, N.C./West Henderson) came up with 12 digs in the victory.

HPU went up 2-0 in the match before the Lady Buccs battled back for a win in the third set. The Panthers completed the win with a 25-17 victory in the fourth set to win the regular season finale 3-1 (25-16, 25-21, 18-25, 25-17). Junior Courtney Johnk (Larkspur, Calif./Redwood) hit .556 with 11 kills and three blocks and freshman Caity Farus (Knox, Ind./Knox) added six kills and four blocks.

Five different attackers got on the board with a kill in the first set, outhitting the Lady Buccs .324 to .065 in a 25-16 win. Michelle Chakirelis (Bay Village, Ohio/Magnificat) and Heldt led the way with four kills each. Chakirelis broke a 14-14 tie with a kill and HPU would widen the lead for the rest of the frame. At set point Johnk blocked an attack by Ashley Johnson for the win.

Charleston Southern led in the beginning of the second set but HPU tied the game 13-13 on an attack error by Wynter Davis. Johnk and Farus combined to block an attack by Johnson to give HPU the lead and the Panthers rolled to a 25-21 win. Johnk had three kills and two blocks in the frame.

After putting up four blocks in the second set HPU wasn't able to put one up in the third, allowing the Lady Buccs to hit .229 and pull out a 25-18 win. The frame was tied 15-15 when CSU went on a five point run with Kayla Klinger at the service line. Charleston Southern was able to hold that lead winning the set 25-18 and avoiding the sweep.

The Panthers sealed the match with a 25-17 win in the fourth set, hitting .571 with 16 team kills and zero errors.  Freshman Chelsea Davis had five of her nine kills in the final frame.

Junior Stephanie Kaminskas (Flagstaff, Ariz./Flagstaff) also had 12 digs in the win and setter Lauren Bell (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) dished out 40 assists.

The High Point Panthers will travel to Charleston, S.C. for the Big South Conference Tournament this week beginning on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Runnin' Bulldogs Fall to Radford, 3-1, in Regular Season Finale
Boiling Springs, N.C. - Gardner-Webb junior Carol Solano and sophomore Tyler Cockrell each posted double-digit kills, yet it wasn't enough as the Runnin' Bulldogs fell in a four-set thriller to Radford, 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 26-28, 26-28), in the two teams' regular season finale Saturday night in Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, N.C.

With the loss, the Runnin' Bulldogs finish the regular season at 10-19 overall and 5-9 in the Big South, while Radford concludes its regular season slate at 15-14 overall and 9-5 in the Big South.

Gardner-Webb, who posted a .368 team attack percentage in Friday night's sweep of Liberty, struggled to find its offensive efficiency on Saturday night hitting .170 for the match.

In the first, an early kill by Solano put the Runnin' Bulldogs in front by one at 4-3, only to have a GWU error in the next rally give Radford a point and retie the score at 4-4.

However, the error seemed to spark the GWU squad, as the home team ran out on a 7-2 run, capped off by kills from Solano and Cockrell, to take its largest lead of the set at five, 11-6, and force a Radford timeout.

Out of the timeout, the two teams went back-and-forth, point-for-point, as Gardner-Webb found themselves up by five at 15-10 after a Laura Wilcox kill.

Radford cut the first set lead to three at 17-14 on a GWU attack error, however, the Runnin' Bulldogs held their composure and pushed their lead back out to five at 19-14 by way of a Highlander error.

GWU finished the set out with a 6-4 run, highlighted by three kills from Solano, one from Wilcox and a service ace from Cockrell, to take set one 25-18 and an early 1-0 match lead.

The momentum from the opening set win clearly carried over into set two for GWU, as the Runnin' Bulldogs ran out to a 4-2 lead on another Solano kill.  However, the Highlanders returned the favor to GWU, answering with a 9-4 run of their own to take an 11-9 lead.

Gardner-Webb tied the score up five times over the next several rallies, yet could never put together back-to-back points to take away the lead from the Highlanders.

With the set knotted up at 17-17, Radford retook the lead by two at 19-17 on a Emily Carlin kill and a GWU attack error, putting the pressure back on the Runnin' Bulldogs.

The Runnin' Bulldogs battled back to cut the lead to one at 20-19 on a Lauren Evans kill, only to have the Highlanders finish the frame out with five straight points to down GWU 25-19 and tie the match up at 1-1.

After a kill by Radford's Rachel Wiechecki started the third set, the Runnin' Bulldogs outscored the Highlanders 10-4 to take a 10-5 lead on a Radford service error.

A Gardner-Webb attack error on the very next rally, not only gave the service back to the Highlanders, but also opened up the door for Radford to storm back and tie the match up at 11-11 on yet another Runnin' Bulldog error.

Refusing to give in, the Runnin' Bulldogs took their turn in the set of runs, using a 10-1 run to take a 21-12 lead on a Cockrell kill.

A kill by Radford's Carlin stopped the run and jump started Radford's turn, who battled back with a 12-3 run of their own to knot the set up at 24-24.

The two teams' again traded points over the next four rallies, as an Evans' kill tied the set up for the seventh time at 26-26.

Like in set two, it was the Highlanders not the Runnin' Bulldogs who finished the set out strong, as Radford picked up a kill and then a service ace by Wiechecki to escape with the 28-26 set win and take a 2-1 match lead.

Looking to tie the match up at two sets apiece and force a fifth and decisive set, Gardner-Webb battled the Highlanders in a seesaw affair, until a Cockrell kill put the home team on top by one at 10-9.

After Radford took the lead at 12-10 on three straight points, Gardner-Webb clawed their way back in front at 16-15 with a 6-3 run, capped off by a Molly Rhyne kill.

The Highlanders answered with a 6-2 run to retake the lead at 20-17 and force a GWU timeout.

Out of the timeout, Gardner-Webb fought their way back into the set, retaking the lead at 24-23 and once more at 25-24.

Radford was once more able to finish the set out with back-to-back points by way of a kill and an ace to take the fourth set 28-26 and the match 3-1.

For the second consecutive match, Solano led the way with a season-high 14 kills, while Cockrell finished 13 kills and 12 total blocks.  Seniors Evans and Wilcox each recorded nine kills apiece, while Evan Moffitt totaled 19 digs and one ace for the match.

Radford's Rachel Wiechecki totaled a match-high 19 kills and three aces, while Emma Deininger added 12 kills in the four set win.

Both Gardner-Webb (10-19, 5-9 Big South) and Radford (15-14, 9-5 Big South) will now set their sights on the 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship next week on November 17-19th hosted by Charleston Southern in Charleston, S.C.

Bulldogs Drop Heartbreaker to Liberty On Senior Night 
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Playing in their final home match of the season at Justice Center on Friday evening the UNC Asheville volleyball team dropped a 3-2 decision to Liberty University, falling 22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 13-15 in Big South Conference play.

Seniors Cindi Miller and Hallie Morse were honored before the match as the two were playing their last match in the friendly confines of Justice Center. Miller and Morse did not disappoint the home faithful, as Miller tallied 18 kills and Morse posted 63 assists.

However, it would be sophomore Meredith Foster who would steal the show for the Bulldogs, tallying a career-high 24 kills. Holly Shelton also had a big night for the Blue & White, posting 17 kills. Asheville drops to 14-13 overall, 7-7 in the Big South with the loss.

Liberty (17-12, 12-2 BSC) clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming BSC Tournament with the win. The Flames will split the regular-season championship with the Winthrop Eagles, but clinch the top spot in the tournament via a tiebreaker with WU.

The Flames were led on offense by Lillie Happel who posted 21 kills on the night. Loren Thomas added 20 to the Flames' total while setter Jade Craycraft earned 53 assists directing the Liberty offense.

Overall the two teams combined for 31 tie scores and 16 lead changes in the match, with both teams going over 60 kills. Liberty tallied 11.5 team blocks with Thomas earning 9.0 (one solo) of her own. Asheville recorded 8.0 blocks as Chelsie Kenley tallied 5.0 (one solo).

The Bulldogs will be the No. 4 seed in the Big South Tournament and will open the event with No. 5 Campbell. The championship begins on Thursday, Nov. 17, in Charleston, S.C.