The Liberty University Men’s club volleyball team traveled to Dallas April 3 to compete in the 2013 National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) Tournament.
Liberty entered the tournament ranked 20th out of 24 teams, but emerged from it near the top, placing fifth.
The Flames started day one of the tournament competing against Penn State Harrisburg, clinching their first win of the tournament (25-11, 25-19). The Flames then stole a win from Central Michigan University (25-17, 25-18).
In its third match of the day, Liberty played an evenly matched contest against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point that resulted in a third set, the equivalent of overtime in volleyball. The Flames held on to win 2-1, leaving them 3-0 at the end of day one.
Liberty entered day two and took on Vanderbilt University in the first match. The Commodores took the match from the Flames in three sets, (25-23, 24-26, 15-7). The Flames finished day two of the tournament against Washington State University, capturing the match from Cougars winning (20-5, 15-25, 16-14).
The win placed the Flames into the Gold Bracket, which consisted of eight teams, on the final day of the tournament.
Liberty played Iowa State University in the first round, winning the first game 25-19. With the second game tied at 23, the Flames fought for the win but fell short (29-27), leading to a third set. The match fell in favor of Iowa State, when it won the set 15-9.
“It was disappointing because we had Iowa State on the ropes when we had won the first game and had a chance to finish them off when it was 23-all in the second game,” senior Aaron Kronawetter said. “We knew if we could just get past them, we could have won it all.”
Iowa State University went on to take the championship title at the NCVF Tournament.
“We knew that if we beat Iowa State, we could win the whole thing. We won big in the first game, but they got really scrappy, and our hitters just couldn’t hit the floor,” Steven Abbott said.
Derek Abildness led the Flames with 51 kills in the weekend tournament. Ethan Chase closely behind with 46. Josiah William collected 35 digs for the team, and Abbott collected 29.
Setter Jamie Stedjan led the team with 131 assists on the tournament and was named Honorable Mention for the All-Tournament Team Setter.
“We played well together and had a lot of tough battles,” Kronawetter said. “We had a better ranking this year than last, and next year looks to be even more promising. Our defense played a huge role in all of our wins.”