Club Sports News

Flames win pool, reach Gold bracket of Hoosier-Illini Classic

February 24, 2018  |  Bloomington, Ind. 

The Flames celebrate a point during the Jan. 27 'Midnight Mayhem' match at the Vines Center. (Photo by Andrew Snyder) test test test test
The Flames celebrate a point during the Jan. 27 'Midnight Mayhem' match at the Vines Center. (Photo by Andrew Snyder)

For the first time in its history, Liberty University's NCVF Division I men's volleyball team advanced to the Gold bracket of the 17th annual Hoosier-Illini Classic, hosted by Indiana University, after Saturday's pool play. The Flames (8-3) swept all four games of their pool to earn one of four top seeds for Sunday's playoffs. The 20-team tournament features 13 teams ranked in the season's first NCVF Division I poll.

"The guys are rolling right along," Liberty Head Coach Bryan Rigg said, noting that the Gold Bracket playoff will be an eight-team, single-elimination format.

The Flames, ranked 11th in the nation, won their five-team pool that included unranked Loyola of Chicago, No. 23 Central Florida, No. 24 Missouri, and No. 10 Purdue, which they defeated in succession from lowest- to highest-ranked. Liberty swept UCF, 25-15, 25-18 and Mizzou 25-19, 25-19, before needing three games to overcome the Boilermakers in the tightest match of the day, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14.

"The reason we won all day today was we had a bunch of guys playing well," Rigg said. "When (junior setter) Kaden Knepper is playing well, we all play well and he was on today. He had a ton of service aces, he played great defense, and his sets were on point. (Junior middle hitter) Gene (Dejesus) and (outside hitter) Brady (Quakenbush) led us at the net. They were more physical than our opponents' hitters and they had tons of kills and (sophomore) Daniel Koloff hit near .750 today."

Defensively, the Flames were anchored by junior middle blocker Jacob Holbert and senior libero Sam Wyman.

"We had a group of six guys who played the best I've ever seen Liberty volleyball play in the last seven years," Rigg said. "I want them to think about (Sunday's playoffs), but first I want them to enjoy the moment because we've never made the Gold Bracket and we won decisively today."

The other three top-seeded teams after pool play are No. 3-ranked Illinois, which swept Liberty in a crossover match on Saturday night, 25-19, 25-15, No. 17 Virginia Tech, and the host Hoosiers, ranked 22nd in the country.

Liberty will face the winner of Sunday's 9:30 a.m. crossover match between Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Depaul in their first-round match, set for 10:30 a.m., with a potential semifinal clash with the Hokies, who the Flames have beaten twice this season.

 

By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

Men's Volleyball Links
Schedule
Results
Nov 17, 9:00 AM - Lancaster, PA
at
Men's Volleyball
Lancaster Bible College
Game Time
Men's Volleyball
at Lancaster Bible College
Nov 17, 9:00 AM - Lancaster, PA

Full Schedule

Oct 13
Men's Volleyball
at King College - Erskine (NCAA)
W (25-20, 25-19)

Oct 13
Men's Volleyball
at King College - Campbellsville (NAIA)
W (25-20, 25-20)

Oct 13
Men's Volleyball
at King College - NGU (NCAA) (DII)
L (18-25, 21-25)

Oct 13
Men's Volleyball
at King College - Lincoln Memorial (NCAA)
L (26-28, 21-25)

Oct 13
Men's Volleyball
at King College - LMC (NCAA) (DII)
W (25-21, 26-24)

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