Men's volleyball 'Midnight Mayhem' to be streamed by ESPN
January 16, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
When Liberty University's men's volleyball team opens its spring 2018 schedule with a Midnight Mayhem matchup against Florida, next Friday at 11:59 p.m. in the Vines Center, it will be the first time the fourth annual event is streamed live by ESPN3.
"It's a huge recruiting boost and a unique opportunity for the guys to play in one of the first club volleyball matches webcast live on ESPN3," said Liberty beach volleyball Head Coach Kaleb VanDePerre, who initiated the conversation to get the game on the network, also known as WatchESPN.
The contest will be covered by the Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) and will also be picked up by the Big South Network with a podcast available for those not wanting to stay up until the early morning hours.
"It is an exciting opportunity," Flames Head Coach Bryan Rigg said. "ESPN3 is an excellent platform and it's hard to find volleyball matches that have gotten more attention than this match has. It is really catching a lot of interest because there's nothing like this. We want to get it out on their social media platforms and are hoping to get a big viewership following."
This is Liberty's fourth year in a row hosting the late-night event, which has drawn crowds of close to 4,000 fans each year.
"There's sort of a reputation through word of mouth and I think it's going to continue to grow," Rigg said. "We're hoping to get the word out because the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) has never had any event aired other than on their own website."
The NCVF consists of 750 teams across the United States, with the East Coast Volleyball Association (ECVA) the largest conference in the country. Liberty competes in the ECVA South Region and Florida is in the Southeast.
"Florida won the (ECVA) Southeast Region last year and is about as good as JMU and Virginia Tech in the South," Rigg said. "They're one of the top five to seven teams in the East Coast so it will be a battle."
Two ECVA North Region teams, Penn State and Pittsburgh, advanced to the gold bracket of the NCVF National Championships last year as two of the top 16 teams in the country.
"That's our goal, and some of the teams we've already beaten this fall have been there in the past, so we're moving in the right direction," Rigg said. "This could be the year where we can move from just outside the bubble to inside the bubble."
After traveling to the Hoosier-Illini Classic from Feb. 23-25 and playing two matches at Southern Virginia in Buena Vista, Va., on Feb. 21 and March 7, Liberty will host the ECVA South Championships for the first time, March 24 at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center. The top three teams from that tournament will advance to the East Coast Championships at the University of Maryland on March 31, which will determine their seeds for the NCFV National Championships, set for April 12-14 in St. Louis.