Barton saved its best offensive performance this postseason for the biggest match in program history.
Barton hit more than .400 for the first time in a month as it swept Mount Olive 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 in the Conference Carolina Tournament finals on Saturday in Wilson, North Carolina.
With this victory, the Bulldogs clinched their program’s first Conference Carolina championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
Setter Federico Pagliara guided Barton to out-hit Mount Olive .403 to .049, including the team having a match-best .611 attack percentage in the second game. In addition, the Bulldogs in the first two games committed four attack errors, nine fewer than the Trojans.
All-conference outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris finished with a match-high 13 kills on a .647 attack percentage. Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American opposite also contributed 11 kills, while outside attacker Aleksa Brkovic had nine kills and hit .462.
All five of Barton’s starting pin hitters and middle attackers had at least .300 attack percentage against Mount Olive.
Despite being held to three aces, Barton’s serving forced Mount Olive to run its offense out-of-system for most of the match. The Trojans making their conference championship appearance since 2014 were held to a negative-.067 attack percentage in the final game.
All-conference outside attacker Robert Poole in the loss led Mount Olive with nine kills and two aces.
Barton’s seed and first opponent for the upcoming NCAA Tournament will be announced on Sunday. The Bulldogs are projected to be the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology projections.