Quick-hit guide to ConfCarolinas Tournament quarterfinal matches

Photo by Jay Sowers

Jonathan Bates | Off the Block Associate Editor

The ConfCarolinas Tournament bracket and the quarterfinal match-ups are set. Check out the quick-hit guide of what to know about each opening-round match.

No. 1 seed Barton (21-4, 14-2 ConfCarolinas) vs. No. 8 seed Erskine (6-20, 4-12 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals: 6:30 p.m. in Wilson, North Carolina
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Season series: Barton 2-0 (sweep at home on Jan. 26; sweep at Erskine on Mar. 15)
Last ConfCarolinas Tournament title: Barton (2017); Erskine (2016)
Stats to know: These two teams have won three of the seven ConfCarolinas Tournament titles in the brief history of the tournament; Erskine also won the conference tournament in 2014. Barton holds a 10-9 series edge over Erskine, after the Flying Fleet won the first eight matches in the series. Erskine and Barton have played in the ConfCarolinas Tournament every year since 2014. The Flying Fleet is 3-2 in those five ConfCarolinas Tournament matches, but have lost the last two. Erskine is 7-4 in ConfCarolinas Tournament action, while Barton is 8-4. Barton will end the season winning 17 of its final 18 matches. Barton leads the conference (and is also top-ten nationally) with 12.30 assists/game, a 0.336 attack percentage, and 12.95 kills/game. A Barton player has won ConfCarolinas Player of the Week honors 8 out of 14 times this year, including five times by opposite, Angelos Mandilaris. Mandilaris leads the team with 4.43 kills/game and a 0.356 attack percentage. Erskine ranks second in the nation with 10.13 digs/game, led by libero Hector Collazo’s 2.61 digs/game (No. 2 in the nation individually).

No. 2 seed King (18-9, 14-2 ConfCarolinas) vs. No. 7 seed Emmanuel (10-18, 5-11 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. on Saturday in Bristol, Tennessee
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Season series: King 2-0 (won in four games at Emmanuel on Feb. 2; swept at home on Mar. 23)
Last ConfCarolinas Tournament title: King (2018); Emmanuel (never)
Stats to know: This is Emmanuel’s first season being eligible for the postseason after being in a transitional phase for a few years. King is 4-4 all time in the conference tournament and is 9-3 all-time versus the Lions. Interestingly, both coaches are King alumni – James Friddle (2012) and Ryan Booher (2013). King ranks second in the nation with 2.62 blocks/game and seventh in the nation with 9.50 digs/game. Middle attackers Jon Wheaton and Dalton Johnson both rank the top ten individually in blocks/game, with Wheaton at No. 3 (1.29 blocks/game) and Johnson at No. 6 (1.204 blocks/game). Middle attacker Don Thompson leads the Lions with 3.54 kills/game and a 0.334 attack percentage.

No. 3 seed Belmont Abbey (15-10, 10-6 ConfCarolinas) vs. No. 6 seed North Greenville (15-12, 8-8 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals: 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in Belmont, North Carolina
Follow live: Live video
Season series: 1-1 (North Greenville swept on Feb. 19 at Belmont-Abbey; Belmont-Abbey won in five games at North Greenville)
Last ConfCarolinas Tournament title: Belmont Abbey (never); North Greenville (never)
Stats to know: Belmont Abbey defeated North Greenville in last year’s conference tournament – also a quarterfinal match in Belmont. All-time, Belmont Abbey is 9-2 against North Greenville, having won the first seven matches in the series. North Greenville is still looking for their postseason match victory, as they have lost in the previous three attempts, while Belmont Abbey is 2-5 all-time in their conference tournament history. Belmont Abbey outside attacker Liam Maxwell leads the nation with 4.46 kills/game, while North Greenville is led by outside attacker Jackson Gilbert who leads the team with 0.430 aces/game and 3.29 aces/game.

No. 4 seed Mount Olive (11-15, 9-7 ConfCarolinas) vs. No. 5 seed Limestone (13-12, 8-8 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. on Saturday in Mount Olive, North Carolina
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Season series: Mount Olive 2-0 (won in four games at Limestone on Feb. 2; won in five games at home on Mar. 22)
Last ConfCarolinas Tournament title: Mount Olive (never); Limestone (never)
Stats to know: Last week, Limestone announced they would be leaving ConfCarolinas to join the South Atlantic Conference, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, so this will be the Saints penultimate ConfCarolinas tournament (assuming they qualify next year). Mount Olive has a 18-6 record versus Limestone all-time, including a 10-3 record at home. In the February 2 match, Mount Olive out-blocked Limestone, 18 to 5, and were led by Eric Visgitis’ nine and Luke Visgitis’ eight. In the March 22 match that required the Mount Olive to get to 21 points in the final game, Trojan setter Shane Yeo had a season-best 64 assists. Both teams rank the top five nationally in digs/game – Limestone ranks No. 1 in the nation with 10.34 digs/game, led by Freshman libero Michal Podgorzak’s 2.29 digs/game. Mount Olive is No. 4 in the nation with 9.89 digs/game, led by Senior libero Joel Roberts’ 2.57 digs/game.