Pfeiffer eliminates men’s volleyball progam in midst of Division III transition

One of the first programs to represent the Conference Carolinas in the NCAA Tournament is no more.

Pfeiffer announced Thursday that it would discontinue its men’s volleyball program as a result of the athletics department dropping to NCAA Division III.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we make this announcement,” Vice President for Athletics Bob Reasso said in a statement. “We’ve had great success in our men’s volleyball program, but with our move to Division III we have no alternative. There’s no men’s volleyball in the USA South Athletic Conference and the nearest conference we can play in starts in Virginia and goes up to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can’t ask out student-athletes to get on a bus and travel that far for competition.”

Pfeiffer under coach Paul Lawson won the 2015 Conference Carolinas championship and forced an overtime game against the national champions Loyola in the NCAA Tournament play-in match. The 2015 season was the second season that the Conference Carolinas had an automatic bid to the six-team NCAA Tournament.

The Falcons started their program in 2010 and conclude with a 103-86 all-time record. The program won two Conference Carolinas championships and three conference tournament titles, including two before the conference had earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The North Carolina university decided in November 2015 that it would begin to transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division III membership. Pfeiffer announced last year that the 2016-17 school year would be its final season in the Conference Carolinas and it would join USA South Athletic Conference as a Division III member.

With the transition to Division III looming, Pfeiffer played last season with a 12-man roster that included one freshman. In addition, the Falcons did not sign any recruits for the 2018 season.

Pfeiffer in the program’s final season went 0-19 — the only team in the nation to end to year winless. It also played nation-low one non-conference match, which it lost to the Division III school Southern Virginia.

Despite the elimination of the men’s volleyball program, Lawson will remain at Pfeiffer and continue to serve as the head coach of the women’s volleyball team.

Pfeiffer is the second school to drop its men’s volleyball program this off-season.

Cal Baptist announced in May that it would disband its men’s volleyball program less than five years after transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.