Tournament Time: Women’s Volleyball team prepares to play in its first ever Conference USA Volleyball Tournament
A 15-12 regular season filled with a wealth of challenging opponents and a new conference has all led to this. The Lady Flames volleyball team is preparing for the 2023 Conference USA Volleyball Tournament, where 10 teams will gather to battle for the CUSA crown Nov. 17-19. For Liberty women’s volleyball Head Coach Trevor Johnson, this weekend’s tournament is a tremendous chance to show what Lady Flames women’s volleyball is about.
“This is a great opportunity for us to represent Liberty volleyball the right way,” Johnson said, regarding the team’s first Conference USA tournament. “For us, the most important match of the year is the next one. That doesn’t change on our end, we’re still trying to get better.”
Not only is it the Lady Flames’ first CUSA tournament, but it’s the first one the team will host.
“Being on our home floor and having a home crowd, it’ll be so nice to be here at home,” senior outside hitter Kamryn Bacus said. “I didn’t realize it until this year how big of an advantage being at home is … Playing in front of our fans, Flames nation, is the best. I would love to pack out the arena for our games and get people excited about volleyball.”
Four games will open up the tournament Friday, Nov. 17, with Liberty slated to play in the second game. The No. 1 seed Western Kentucky will open play against No. 8 Jacksonville State in the first game, beginning at 11 a.m. Following the first game, the tournament host and No. 5 seed Liberty will seek to get revenge on No. 4 UTEP at 1 p.m. after dropping the final two games of the regular season to UTEP this past weekend.
The third game of the day will see No. 2 seed New Mexico State take on No. 7 Louisiana Tech at 4 p.m. The final game of the day to close out the first round of the tournament has No. 3 Middle Tennessee State taking on No. 6 Florida International at 6 p.m.
Going into day two of the tournament, four teams will remain with an opportunity to clinch the Conference USA volleyball championship. It all leads up to the big day, Nov. 19, when the Conference USA title will be up for grabs in the championship game at 12 p.m.
For the Lady Flames, their hopes are to bounce back in the tournament after dropping their last two regular season games at UTEP this past Friday and Saturday.
“We have to focus on one game at a time, one point at a time, one set at a time, and really capitalizing on the moment,” Bacus said. “I think that will be huge for us.”
The Flames will once again face off against the Miners in the first round of the tournament on Friday, with an opportunity to showcase how they have overcome challenges throughout the season.
“We definitely faced some adversity this year, especially with injuries, but no matter what, we’re going to play for him and keep trusting in (God),” Johnson said.
“Working through each of those (challenges) and still staying together as a unit and remembering that we are in it for each other has really grown us as a team and I think that’ll give us confidence going into the tournament,” Bacus added.
Almy is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion