The coaches in the conference are projecting Mount Olive to win its ConfCarolinas championship in almost a decade.
The Trojans received all but two first-place votes to finish atop the ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll that was released Friday.
Mount Olive returns a majority of starters after finishing in second place in the ConfCarolinas during the shortened 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Among those returning starters includes outside attacker Tobi Azeez who was in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.63 kills per game average and had a .309 attack percentage last season.
The Trojans are attempting to win their first conference championship since 2013 — one year before the ConfCarolinas started to receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The defending ConfCarolinas champions Barton was the only other school to receive first-place votes in the preseason poll. The Bulldogs received 43 points and finished four points behind the Trojans.
King and Belmont Abbey also round out the top half of the preseason poll.
The ConfCarolinas regular season will begin in February and conclude with the eight-team conference tournament in April. In addition, King will play host to the ConfCarolinas Tournament semifinals and finals on April 17-18.
2021 ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll
1. Mount Olive — 47 (6) points
2. Barton — 43 (2) points
3. King — 37 points
4. Belmont Abbey — 31 points
5. North Greenville — 27 points
6. Lees-McRae — 16 points
7. Erskine — 14 points
8. Emmanuel — 9 points
2021 ConfCarolinas Players to Watch
Outside attacker: Adrian Iglesias
Middle attacker: Dimitrios Kyridis
Setter: Bartosz Slawinski
Opposite: Andrew Kohut, (2019 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year)
Setter: Brennan Davis (2019 All-Conference Carolinas)
Outside attacker: Matteo Miselli (2020 Freshman All-American)
Setter: Henrik Westhoff
Outside attacker: Jayden Young
Libero: Mateus Bade
Outside attacker: Jacob Whyte
Outside attacker: Edge Austin
Middle attacker: Cole Vigo
Opposite: Joshua Kim (2019 All-Conference Carolinas)
Outside attacker: Suetonius Harris
Setter: JT Deppe
Setter: Bradley Peters
Libero: Steven Nalls
Middle attacker: Ethan Gardner
Outside attacker: Tobi Azeez
Outside attacker: Jarrod Ferguson
Middle attacker: Luke Visgitis (2019 All-Conference Carolinas)
MIddle attacker: Eric Visgitis (2019 All-Conference Carolinas)
Outside attacker: Jackson Gilbert (2019 All-Conference Carolinas)
Setter: Sérgio Carrillo
Outside attacker: Brandon Baker