Anthonia Akpama-Oyedele, joined here by Liberty University President/Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., and former Liberty volleyball head coach Chris Phillips, was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Former Liberty volleyball standout Anthonia Akpama-Oyedele was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame, Thursday. The induction took place during the league's annual Spring Meetings Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va. Akpama-Oyedele was one of three inductees in the Big South Hall of Fame's Class of 2013. She was joined by Dr. Anthony J. DiGiorgio (Winthrop president: 1989-2013; Big South Conference president: 1992-98, 2006-09) and former Radford men's soccer star Ian Spooner (1991-95). The Big South's Hall of Fame membership now stands at 52 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors. Following Akpama-Oyedele's induction, Liberty Athletics has a total of five representatives in the Big South Hall of Fame. Akpama-Oyedele joins former standout student-athletes Ryan Werner (men's track & field/1992-96/Class of 2007), Peter Aluma (men's basketball/1994-97/Class of 2008) and Elena Kisseleva (women's basketball/1996-2000/Class of 2011), along with long-time broadcaster Jerry Edwards (1981-2010/Class of 2012) as Liberty Athletics honorees in the Big South's Hall of Fame. A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Akpama-Oyedele was a dominant force as a middle hitter from 1996-1999, becoming the first Lady Flame, and first player in Big South history, to surpass 2,000 career kills. She played a major role in Liberty's first two Big South Volleyball Championship teams, in 1997 and 1999, as the team appeared in the NCAA Volleyball Championship both seasons. The Lady Flames won 20 or more matches all four years that Akpama-Oyedele played. The middle blocker was named to the Big South All-Conference first team during each of her four seasons, the only player in program history to hold that distinction. By the time she graduated, Akpama-Oyedele was one of only two players in Big South volleyball history to win Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP during a four-year career. She was named to the AVCA All-District team and CoSIDA Academic All-District squad in 1999. Her honors were capped in 1999 when she was named the inaugural Big South Female Athlete of the Year. Akpama-Oyedele held the Big South record for career kills (2,024) at the time of her graduation. She is currently second in conference history in career kills, while remaining the program record holder. Her 452 blocks place her third in program history, tying for eighth in the Big South at present. She became Liberty's fourth member of the 1,000-1,000 club, and ranks eighth all-time at Liberty with 1,312 career digs. As a senior, Akpama-Oyedele set a Big South record with 5.78 kills per game, a mark that placed her second among all NCAA Division I volleyball players in 1999. Her 671 kills during the 1999 campaign remain the fourth most in a single season in conference history. On Nov. 10, 2000, she had her jersey, number 3, retired, joining Theresa Bream as the only two Liberty volleyball players with a retired jersey.
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