Men's volleyball team to tip off fall season at home tourney
September 29, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
Saturday's fall season-opening Liberty University Preseason Play Date at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center will give Head Coach Bryan Rigg an opportunity to observe his Division I and II players in blended lineups.
"We will have Liberty Blue and Liberty Red teams playing with mixed lineups so both will be equal in ability," he said. "We haven't divided our teams into DI or DII rosters yet, so it should help us figure out some of the position battles we have going on. We have a lot of newcomers, freshmen who are new to the team and guys moving up (from the DII level), so it will be a great opportunity for them to get accustomed to playing with their teammates in tournament action."
The 10-team event, which starts at 9 a.m. and should conclude by 6 p.m., will feature two five-team pools with each competing in a round-robin format, with four best-of-three-game matches and no playoff scheduled. James Madison University will enter its A and B squads. Other East Coast Volleyball Association (ECVA) rivals Virginia, Duke, and VCU are also registered along with Longwood University, an NCAA Division II program.
Liberty will also have a team of recent alumni organized by 2017 graduate David Hong, a defensive specialist, and featuring former libero Josiah Williams, outside hitters Ryan Culkin and Kevin Snyder, setter Ethan Chase, and indoor and beach volleyball player Carlos Rodriguez.
For the third consecutive year, Liberty geared up for its fall season of competition by participating in a three-hour group exercise on the Challenge Course at Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center this past Saturday.
"We had whole team there doing team-building activities," Rigg said, noting that it showed the players mental and physical areas they need to improve. "That's the whole goal. Sometimes you find out you don't really trust one another, so you see what your weaknesses are. They have great support staff up there at Hydaway that know how to bring that out."
Overall, Rigg has been extremely pleased with the team's preseason development.
"Guys have looked better than I thought they would be," he said. "All the returning guys have taken a step forward and we have one or two freshmen who have the ability to be on the A team."
The Flames play at NCAA Division III King College on Oct. 28 and should have their Division I and II lineups set before traveling to the Hardwood Classic at Michigan State from Nov. 10-12 and the Lancaster (Pa.) Bible Tournament on Nov. 17-18.