New recruits will add depth to DI, DII men's volleyball teams
February 27, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University men's volleyball Head Coach Bryan Rigg has assembled one of the largest and most talented casts of incoming players in club history for this coming fall and he announced the first half of it earlier this month — led by 6-foot, 8-inch setter Joshua Knapp and outside hitters Lincoln Bergey, Logan Spieker, Dylan Culler, and Drew Campbell.
"I think it will be a great class," Rigg said. "With the 2018 recruits, we could put a great Division II team together, and a few players could make an impact on the Division I team. They'll probably all play DII to start the fall semester, then, if they play up to their potential, they could work their way up to the DI level by spring."
|Joshua Knapp signed his letter of intent to join Liberty's men's volleyball team before the Jan. 26 'Midnight Mayhem' match in the Vines Center, with his parents, Eric and Linda, and Flames Head Coach Bryan Rigg.|
Knapp, a homeschooled student from Maryland who plays on a travel volleyball team in northern Virginia, was recruited by a number of schools for volleyball and chose Liberty in part because of its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) drone training program offered through the School of Aeronautics.
"I was looking for a Christian school … to develop my faith throughout my college career and Liberty is a great fit for schooling, campus life, and volleyball," Knapp said. "Playing on an NCAA Division I team would be nice, but Liberty has a great club program and it is very well organized, which makes it feel like a Division I program."
He has the size, agility, and dexterity to be a multi-threat player for the Flames.
"Coach Rigg was looking at me as a setter, primarily, but with my height, I can hit and set equally well and have the option of doing both," Knapp said. "My best option may be as a blocker at front row, because of my reach."
Bergey, who chose Liberty in part because of its new Automotive Dealership Management program offered through its School of Business, grew up playing soccer and didn't compete in his first organized volleyball match until his freshman year of high school. But he has made an impact as a homeschooled player for Dock Mennonite Academy in Landsvile, Pa., leading the team in kills (364) and aces (44) last spring.
"I absolutely love it and I'm super excited to come to Liberty next year," he said. "I'm really excited. I love the coaches, love the players."
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound hitter has a 29-inch vertical leap that he is hoping to raise through his senior season of high school volleyball this spring and summer workouts.
"I like to be aggressive, love playing defense, and love to be a leader as a captain, in every aspect of volleyball," Bergey said.
|Logan Spieker is an outside hitter from north of Philadelphia.|
Spieker also tries to promote unity within the teams he has played for, serving as captain of his travel team in LeHigh Valley area and a starter for his high school team north of Philadelphia.
"I really love the sport and I am very competitive," he said. "I hate losing more than I like winning. … I'll do whatever's best for the team and try to go for every ball that I can. I want to take my volleyball game and Liberty's team to the next level."
Campbell started for his high school varsity team, at an international school in Chengdu, China, as a setter his freshman and sophomore seasons and at outside hitter as a junior and senior. His teams finished 55-4 in regular-season play throughout his four-year career, winning its first championship in school history his freshman year. He will be serving as one of the Flames' team managers as a freshman while completing his recovery from an ACL tear in September. He hopes to offer Rigg and Assistant Coach Ryan Culkin insights from his observations on the bench.
"I'm definitely a very strategic player," Campbell said. "Both on and off the court, I'm trying to figure out ways that we can beat our opponents."
He plans to study physical education with a minor in Chinese at Liberty with the goal of returning to Chengdu to become his school's athletic director.
Culler, a 6-0 outside hitter who can also serve as defensive specialist, is entering his third season as a starter at Chambersburg (Pa.) High. He plans to major in Youth Ministries through Liberty's Rawlings School of Divinity with a cognate in global studies and a minor in psychology.
"I am an aggressive, hardworking, vocal leader that makes a difference on and off the court," Culler said. "I am a team player who wants all of my teammates to succeed. As an incoming freshman, I want to step right in and provide leadership for the team and create an environment of intensity on the court."