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ASUN Conference Enjoys Historic 2018-19 Postseason Success

June 11, 2019  Atlanta, Ga.  RSS
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ASUN Conference Enjoys Historic 2018-19 Postseason Success

The 2018-19 season will go down as the best in ASUN Conference history in terms of postseason success as league teams totaled 19 wins in national postseason tournaments and Kennesaw State's Daniel Haugh secured the first national championship title in conference history.

Haugh took top podium honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the hammer throw with a mark of 74.63m (244-10). In addition to being the first national title in ASUN history, it was also the first in Kennesaw State Division I history. Prior to the ASUN sponsoring indoor track & tield, Jacksonville's Monique Tubbs won the 2001 NCAA Women's indoor national title in the 60m dash. The league later adopted the sport in 2006.

Of the 19 team wins, nine came in NCAA Tournaments across eight different sports. The Liberty men's basketball team highlighted the list as it advanced to the second round after defeating fifth-seeded Mississippi State in the round of 64 before falling to Virginia Tech in the second round. The 80-76 win vs. the Bulldogs marked the ninth NCAA Tournament victory in ASUN Conference history. In men's soccer, Lipscomb advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, becoming just the third team in conference history to collect at least two wins.

Other NCAA Tournament victories came from Lipscomb (women's soccer, softball), FGCU (volleyball), Stetson (beach volleyball), Jacksonville (women's lacrosse) and Liberty (baseball). The Bisons secured the league's fifth win in women's soccer, also against Mississippi State, while FGCU notched the sixth volleyball victory in history with a 3-2 decision against UCF. Meanwhile, the Hatters became the first No. 8 seed in NCAA Beach Volleyball Tournament history to win a dual match when they defeated No. 1 USC in the first round. The Dolphins picked up an NCAA win with a 22-7 thrashing of Mercer for the program's and conference's first-ever NCAA postseason win. Most recently, Lipscomb earned an NCAA Softball Tournament win over Alabama State, while Liberty downed Tennessee in baseball.

The Liberty and North Florida men's golf teams became the fifth and sixth ASUN programs in the last three seasons to advance to the NCAA National Championships, as they both finished fifth in their respective regionals.

Outside of the NCAA Tournaments, Lipscomb became the first ASUN team to advance to the NIT finals in the league's men's basketball history as the Bisons reeled off four wins en route to their Madison Square Garden showdown with Texas in the finals. NJIT (men's basketball) and North Alabama (women's basketball) also earned national postseason tournament wins in the CIT and WBI, respectively. Liberty swept through the NISC Lynchburg Regional with shutout victories over Rutgers, Kent State and Marshall to advance to the NISC Championship.

Individually, Kennesaw State's Jordan Gray and Liberty's Alejandro Perlaza Zapata both earned First Team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Gray placed second in the pentathlon, while Zapata crossed the finish line in sixth place in the 400-meter dash. Gray also took 14th place in the Long Jump for Second Team All-America. Liberty's Azaria Kirwa collected the third-best finish by an ASUN runner in the NCAA Men's Cross Country Championships with his 81st place finish.

At the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Liberty duo of Alejandro Perlaza Zapata (5th, 400m) and Azaria Kirwa (8th, 10,000m run) and KSU's Gray (7th, heptathlon) had top-10 performances for First Team All-America status. Earning Second Team All-America honors were Liberty's tandem of Felix Kandie (13th, 3,000 meter steeplechase) and Denzel Pratt (14th, javelin) along with Jacksonville women's 4x100 meter relay team (15th).

Jacksonville's Eduardo Carrete (golf) and Liberty's Nicaise Muamba (tennis) also both earned individual qualifications into the NCAA Regional and NCAA Singles Championship, respectively.

2018-19 ASUN Conference Postseason Success
• Men's Cross Country: Azaria Kirwa, Liberty (NCAA Championship | 81st)
• Women's Soccer: Lipscomb (NCAA Tournament | 2nd Round)
• Men's Soccer: Lipscomb (NCAA Tournament | Sweet 16)
• Volleyball: FGCU (NCAA Tournament | 2nd Round)
• Women's Basketball: North Alabama (WBI | Semifinals)
• Men's Basketball: Liberty (NCAA Tournament | 2nd Round)
• Men's Basketball: Lipscomb (NIT | Runner-Up)
• Men's Basketball: NJIT (CIT | Quarterfinal)
• Men's Indoor Track & Field: Alejandro Perlaza Zapata, Liberty (NCAA Championship | 6th, 400m)
• Women's Indoor Track & Field: Jordan Gray, Kennesaw State (NCAA Championship | 2nd, Pentathlon / 14th, Long Jump)
• Beach Volleyball: Stetson (NCAA Tournament | Second Round)
• Women's Lacrosse: Jacksonville (NCAA Tournament | Opening Round Victory)
• Men's Golf: Liberty & North Florida (NCAA National Championship Participant)
• Men's Golf: Jacksonville's Eduardo Carrete (NCAA Regional Individual Qualifier)
• Men's Tennis: Liberty's Nicaise Muamba (NCAA Singles Championship Qualifier)
• Men's Outdoor Track & Field: Daniel Haugh, Kennesaw State (NCAA Champion | 1st, Hammer Throw)
• Men's Outdoor Track & Field: Five All-Americans (KSU's Haugh | Liberty's Kirwa, Zapata, Kandie & Pratt)
• Women's Outdoor Track & Field: Five All-Americans (KSU's Gray & Jacksonville's 4x100m Relay)
• Softball: Lipscomb (NCAA Tournament | Regional Victory)
• Softball: Liberty (NISC Tournament | Regional Champion)
• Baseball: Liberty (NCAA Tournament | Regional Victory)