The road to the NCAA Tournament for the ConfCarolinas will go through Bristol, Tennessee.
The ConfCarolinas announced earlier this week that King University will be the host site for the 2021 conference tournament semifinals and finals.
This is the first time since the ConfCarolinas earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 that there will be a predetermined location for the semifinals and finals. The conference in previous seasons had awarded the right to host the semifinals and finals to the team that won the ConfCarolinas regular season championship.
The No. 1 seed on its home court has won the ConfCarolinas Tournament every year since 2014, including King winning the conference championship in 2018.
The ConfCarolinas Tournament will remain an eight-team field with the top-four seeds earning home matches for the quarterfinals on Tuesday, April 13.
Both semifinal matches will take place Saturday, April 17 and the finals will be played the following day. In addition, the conference’s women’s volleyball semifinals and finals will take place at King in conjunction with the men’s volleyball event during those two days.
The ConfCarolinas earlier this fall opted to move the women’s volleyball season from the fall to the spring for the 2020-21 school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Men’s and women’s volleyball matches being played at the same venue on the same days also will be a feature of the ConfCarolinas regular season.
The conference announced the regular season schedule will be created with men’s and women’s volleyball doubleheaders if the two schools facing each other sponsor both programs.
“The opportunity for our women’s team to play doubleheaders with our men’s team this spring is quite exciting,” Barton coach Jeff Lennox said. “This will be the most volleyball ever played in the spring, and my hope is that the excitement and viewership around the women’s game will translate over to the men’s game for all teams and conferences. I believe we can gain some new fans and there can be a big buzz around volleyball on campuses and in the communities. Our campus and the Wilson community, specifically, support both teams very well and now they can do that all in one day. We will work out the logistics and, come time to compete, I know it will be a great experience for our athletes, coaches and fans.”
Barton won the 2019 ConfCarolinas championship and became the first program in the conference’s history to play host to a NCAA Tournament match. The Bulldogs at the time the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic were undefeated in ConfCarolinas play and ranked No. 6 in the Off the Block/Frisco Mo Division II National Coaches Poll.
Lennox is one of four coaches in the ConfCarolinas who serve as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams at their school.