The ConfCarolinas preseason favorite along with the oldest active NCAA Division II program from the MIVA will compete in the inaugural Battle for the Molten Golden Volleyball.
The Grow the Game Challenge announced Thursday that Barton and Quincy will play each other in the trophy game at 3 p.m. Jan. 20 in Lebanon, Tennessee, as part of the Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge presented by MotorMVB.
While trophy games are uncommon in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball, they are used on other college sports such as football to hype up games and emerging rivalries. This trophy game concept is being utilized for the Grow the Game Challenge as a way to spotlight certain matches during the three-day non-conference tournament.
Molten is the official volleyball supplier of the Grow the Game Challenge and NCAA men’s volleyball.
Barton enters the 2019 season attempting to reach the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last three years.
The Bulldogs finished last season winning a share of the ConfCarolinas regular season title but lost in the conference tournament finals. In addition, the team received all but one the first-place votes to finish No. 1 in the ConfCarolinas preseason poll that was released earlier this week.
Opposite Angelos Mandilaris highlights the three all-conference starters returning for the Bulldogs. Mandilaris as a sophomore in 2018 was fifth in the nation averaging 3.97 kills per game and was named both the ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Division II National Player of the Year.
Quincy under first-year head coach Gavin Mueller advanced to the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals last season. In the regular season, it also almost pulled off upsets against No. 6 Loyola and No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne before losing both those matches in five games.
Among the starters returning for the Hawks includes middle attacker Shane McAdams, who was in the conference’s top 25 last season with both a 2.13 kills per game average and a .225 attack percentage.
The Grow the Game Challenge will take place Jan. 18-20 at Cumberland University. With a 10-team field, the Grow the Game Challenge will be the largest college men’s volleyball non-conference tournament during the upcoming season.
The match result from the Battle for the Molten Golden Volleyball, along all other 12 tournament matches, will count towards determining the overall tournament champion of the Grow the Game Challenge.