The Liberty University men’s volleyball team looks to wrap up the 2012 season in a big way as they travel to Kansas City, Mo., to compete in the 2012 National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) National Championships April 5-7.
Liberty finished the season sixth in Division 1 of the NCVF’s Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) South Division.
The team, though limited on experience, came on strong at the conference tournament held at James Madison University on March 24, defeating the University of Virginia before a close loss to North Carolina State.
Liberty will be competing in the I-AAA division at nationals. The Flames open pool play with Dartmouth, Penn State-Harrisburg and Wake Forest University today at 7 p.m. inside the Kansas City Convention Center. Other schools competing include Central Michigan, Rice, Towson, Albany and fellow Big South Conference member High Point University.
Head Coach Bryan Rigg is impressed with the growth of his team, featuring only three seniors and five juniors in addition to three underclassmen.
“The players are continuing to improve,” Rigg said. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who, after playing in the fall are getting better.”
Sophomore Steven Abbott came to Liberty with only two years of competitive volleyball experience, and has been the Flames’ starting libero all season.
Rigg said Abbott, who was a close contender for all-conference honors this season, will be a player to watch in 2013.
Another major contributor is junior Jamie Stedjan, who transferred from an NCAA Division II volleyball program. He started as an outside hitter, but has seamlessly made the transition to setter and has been a steadying influence on the court this season.
Rigg has high expectations for this team, as he hopes they can make it all the way to the finals after a top five finish in 2010.