Flames break into top 20 in first national ranking of season
February 4, 2016 | Lynchburg, Va.
Less than a week after being swept by Virginia Tech in the spring season-opening Midnight Mayhem match played in front of more than 4,000 fans in the Vines Center, Liberty University's men's volleyball team still moved into the top 20 in the first National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) Division I rankings of 2016.
The Flames, who ended the 2015 spring season ranked No. 24, debuted at No. 19, right behind No. 18 UCLA, a team they defeated in the 2014 national tournament, and No. 17 Penn State.
"This is higher than we were in the polls at any point last year and it is three spots lower than our seeding at Nationals last year," Liberty Head Coach Bryan Rigg said.
Virginia Tech, which was ranked as high as No. 1 and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Division I tournament last year before ending the season ranked fifth, starts the 2016 season at No. 3, behind only No. 1 Illinois and No. 2 Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
"Our performance at the Michigan State Hardwood Classic (where the Flames finished fifth out of 24 teams on Nov. 7-8) was enough to keep us in the top 25 ranking in the country, but there is a great deal of work to be done and we have already started to shake up our lineup and to make big changes," Rigg said. "It is my full expectation that when we play again (on Feb. 13) there will be a new vigor on the team."
The Flames will host an EIVA play date with South Division rivals Virginia Tech, James Madison, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason, Florida, and Central Florida invited, next Saturday starting at 10 a.m. in the LaHaye Multipurpose Center.
This year's NCVF National Championships are set for April 7-9 in Louisville, Ky.