The defending champions are the preseason favorites to repeat in the ConfCarolinas.
Barton received the majority of first-place votes to finish atop the ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll that was released Thursday.
The Bulldogs are attempting to win their third ConfCarolinas title in the last four years. The team in 2019 won a program record 25 matches and played host to the NCAA Tournament play-in match after beating King in a fifth-game overtime of the conference tournament finals.
Among the all-conference starters returning for Barton includes opposite Angelos Mandilaris. The two-time ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year was second in the nation with a 4.40 kills per game average last season, including having 17 kills on a .342 attack percentage in a NCAA Tournament loss to Princeton.
Barton garnered five of the nine first-place votes and 76 points to edge out second-place King by nine points.
The 2018 ConfCarolinas champions King were among the four teams to receive first-place votes.
Mount Olive earned two first-place votes and finished in third place with 66 points — one fewer vote than King. Belmont Abbey also picked up a first-place vote and came in fourth place with 63 points.
The ConfCarolinas season begins in January and concludes with the eight-team conference tournament in April. The winner of the ConfCarolinas Tournament will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2020 ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll
1. Barton — 76 (5) points
2. King — 67 (1) points
3. Mount Olive — 66 (2) points
4. Belmont Abbey — 63 (1) points
5. Limestone — 56 points
6. North Greenville — 46 points
7. Emmanuel — 38 points
8. Erskine — 32 points
9. Lees-McRae — 24 points
ConfCarolinas Players to Watch
Barton — Angelos Mandilaris, Oscar Fiorentino., Adrian Iglesias
Belmont Abbey — Liam Maxwell, Andrew Kohut, Brennan Davis
Emmanuel — Don Thompson, Aleksa Lakic, Philipp Lauter
Erskine — Cole Vigo, Edgerrin Austin, Francisco Pomar
King — Sean Kohlhase, Joshua Kim, Julian Young
Lees-McRae — Bradley Peters, Ethan Gardner, Drew Sims
Limestone — Michal Podgorzak, Francisco Salinger, Vicente Mardones
Mount Olive — Tobi Azeez, Luke Visgitis, Eric Visgitis, Shane Yeo
North Greenville — Jackson Gilbert, Ben Hamsho