Mount Olive will open its season this week as the official preseason favorite to win the Conference Carolinas championship.
The defending Conference Carolinas regular season champion Trojans received five of eight first-place votes to finish atop the conference’s preseason coaches poll that was released Monday.
Mount Olive last season in conference play went 15-1 to win its third regular season title in a four-year stretch but was upset in the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals. The Trojans also return a majority of starters from their 2013 team, including two-time all-conference outside attacker Angel Dache.
Mount Olive was one of four teams to receive a first-place vote in the conference’s preseason poll.
The two-time defending conference champions Pfeiffer received one first-place vote and finished in second place with nine fewer votes than Mount Olive. In addition, Limestone and second-year program Erskine both earned a first-place vote to finish tied for third place and to round-out the top half of the preseason poll.
The Conference Carolinas was the final men’s volleyball conference to release its preseason poll. While an overwhelming majority of teams from the other three men’s volleyball conferences started their regular season two weeks ago, seven of the eight Conference Carolinas schools do not play their season-opener until this week.
The champion of the Conference Carolinas beginning this season will receive an automatic bid to the six-team NCAA Tournament.
Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Mount Olive — 47 (5) points
2. Pfeiffer — 36 (1) points
T-3. Erskine — 35 (1) points
T-3. Limestone — 35 (1) points
5. Lees-McRae — 22 points
6. Belmont Abbey — 20 points
7. King — 18 points
8. Barton — 11 points