Flames clinch East Coast Championship bid at JMU play date
February 10, 2018 | Harrisonburg, Va.
Liberty University's men's volleyball bounced back from its Spring season-opening loss to Florida in the "Midnight Mayhem" match in the Vines Center by advancing to the championship of the only East Coast Volleyball Association South Division play date of the semester, Saturday at James Madison University.
The Flames, who debuted at No. 11 in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) Division I rankings, defeated Duke, VCU, and No. 17 Virginia Tech, 25-15, 26-24, to clinch the No. 1 seed out of their pool. Liberty then swept North Carolina State in the first crossover match, 25-17, 25-22, before being swept by Virginia, 25-22, 25-20 in the second to finish as co-champions.
Both the Flames and the Cavaliers qualified for the March 31 East Coast Championships at Maryland.
"In the other pool, UVA and NC State both beat JMU, which was ranked No. 20 and wound up fifth Liberty Head Coach Bryan Rigg said, "We worked real hard early in the day, especially, and we got to the final as the only undefeated team in the tournament."
Rigg said the Flames showed signs of complacency going into the final against the Cavaliers, who had suffered their only previous loss to Virginia Tech.
"We should have beaten them," he said.
Liberty's Division II squad, ranked 10th in the NCVF DIII poll, also earned an automatic bid to the East Coast Championships with a 5-1 record. The Flames defeated Christopher Newport, Appalachian State, Longwood, East Carolina, and 12th-ranked JMU before falling to No. 6-ranked Virginia Tech in the finals.
Prior to hosting the ECVA South Championships on March 24 at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center, Liberty's DI team will travel to Southern Virginia for the first of two meetings in Buena Vista over a two-week span on Feb. 21. That match will serve as a tune-up for the Flames' trip to the Hoosier-Illini Tournament, from Feb. 23-25 at Indiana University, where they will meet many other teams ranked in the NCVF Top 25.