UPDATE: DI, II teams ousted in Silver consols, Gold quarters
April 13, 2018 | St. Louis, Mo.
Liberty University's Division I and II men's volleyball teams experienced their share of both highs and lows over the three-day National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) championships in St. Louis before being eliminated in the Silver and Gold bracket playoffs, respectively, on Saturday morning.
The DI squad, which dropped to the Silver bracket after losing three of its four matchups on Friday, was quickly knocked out by Boston College in the consolation round, by 25-12, 25-18 final scores.
Meanwhile, the Flames' DII team, which won all three of its pool play matches on Thursday and both of its second-round matches on Friday, prevailed in a three-game Gold bracket opener against Penn State, 25-21, 24-26, 15-13, Saturday morning. Its tournament came to an abrupt end, however, with a three-game setback to Purdue, falling 18-25, 25-10, 17-15.
UPDATE: DI Flames slip into Silver bracket; DII clinches Gold
After opening National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) championship pool play with a come-from-behind 25-27, 26-24, 15-11 triumph over Purdue, Liberty University's sixth-seeded Division I men's volleyball team didn't win another match on Friday. The Flames were swept by six-time NCVF DI national champion Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 26-24, 25-16, setting up a one-game tie-breaker with Purdue for the second Gold bracket berth, which the Boilermakers won, 25-20.
That sent Liberty to a Silver bracket crossover match against Missouri, which it lost, 25-13, 15-25, 15-12, setting up a Silver bracket consolation match against Boston College, Saturday at 12:45 p.m. (EST).
The Flames' fifth-seeded DII team, meanwhile, remained undefeated in tournament play, sweeping its two second-round pool play opponents to advance to Saturday's Gold bracket for the second time in three years. Liberty opened with a 25-21, 25-23 victory over JMU before dominating Texas A&M, 25-11, 25-12. The Flames will challenge Penn State, a team they defeated twice in the East Coast Championships, in Saturday's first Gold bracket match at 9 a.m. (EST).
UPDATE: Flames' DI and DII squads both win pools
Liberty University's Division I team, seeded sixth out of 48 teams, won its four-team pool on Thursday's opening day of the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) Championships in St. Louis, sweeping 30th-seeded California-Davis, 25-12, 25-23, and No. 40 Texas-San Antonio, 25-16, 25-18 before dropping a back-and-forth battle against No. 18 Indiana, 25-22, 20-25, 15-7.
The Flames won a tie-breaker between the three 2-1 teams in its pool based on its better set differential and will play the winner of Friday's 8 a.m. challenge match between Purdue and Dayton at 11:30 p.m.(EST) before facing Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 1:30 p.m. The top two teams out of that three-team pool will advance to Saturday's Gold bracket.
"All three teams are similar," Liberty Head Coach Bryan Rigg said. "They're bigger in size, and their weakness is passing, so they're perfect matchups for us. Oshkosh is infamous in this sport, with six national championships. This year is not a great year for them, but they are well known and well respected."
Later on Thursday, Liberty's Division II squad, seeded fifth out of 32 teams, swept through its pool, defeating Wisconsin-Oshkosh in straight sets, 25-12, 25-20, before winning a split decision over West Virginia, 25-14, 21-25, 15-7, and sweeping Lincoln (Neb.), 25-23, 25-22.
Men's volleyball opens NCVF tourney in St. Louis
For the fourth time in five years, Liberty University's Division I and II men's volleyball teams flew to the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) Championships, which open with pool play today and run through Saturday's playoffs at America's Center & The Dome, a 67,000-square feet arena in downtown St. Louis.
Both teams have nine players, with the DI squad led by Head Coach Bryan Rigg and the DII team guided by Assistant Coach Ryan Culkin.
The Flames' DI squad is seeded sixth out of 48 teams in the DI tournament and opened pool play Thursday morning against California-Davis before facing Texas-San Antonio and Indiana. Liberty's DII team, seeded fifth out of 36 teams, will face Wisconsin-Oshkosh in its first round of pool play at 4 p.m. (EST) before taking on West Virginia at 6 p.m. and Lincoln (Neb.) at 8 p.m.
If either team finishes first in its pool, it will go straight to a three-team pool with two other top seeds, with the top two teams advancing to the 16-team Gold bracket playoffs.
The second- and third-place teams in the original pools will play crossover matches on Friday afternoon, placing them into the Gold, Silver, or Bronze brackets. The highest bracket the fourth-place team can be placed in is Silver, if it wins both of its consolation pool matches.
The DII team has only advanced into the Gold bracket once, with the DI squad never landing above the Silver bracket.
"Our eyes are set on higher goals," Rigg said. "It's not just a mantra this year. We really do believe we can place (in the top 16) in both divisions at the national championship. That's what we're aiming for."
Both teams have maintained consistent lineups throughout the spring season.
"We haven't flopped any players from DI to DII, but we do use multiple rotations depending on how the guys do," Rigg said. "We've got nine guys we can trust. They have the confidence, experience, and the reps. We start our best six guys, but we have enough guys to be able to play Days 2 and 3 with fresh legs because not only do we have talent, but also depth."
The Flames players also are in the best shape of their season and have insight on their opponents through watching film on all 15 teams in their bracket.
"Our (DI) team is conditioned and disciplined," Rigg said. "They have invested a lot more time to prepare themselves to put their best foot forward, so I'm excited for them. We have a specific game plan against every team we'll play."
Follow all of the action on the NCVF website, which provides live results and schedules.