Top 5 all-time non-conference upsets for ConfCarolinas teams

Photo by Jay Sowers

It’s starting to become a trend of upsets in the ConfCarolinas.

Mount Olive’s season-opening victory against George Mason on Saturday was the latest example of a signature non-conference win for the NCAA Division II conference.

Check out the top-five non-conference upsets throughout the history of ConfCarolinas men’s volleyball.


1. Barton def. USC 26-24, 21-25, 25-17, 26-24
Jan. 19, 2019 | Grow the Game Challenge

Setter Oscar Fiorentino guided the offense to a .356 attack percentage as Barton upset the historic West Coast powerhouse USC at the Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge. Barton avoided a fifth game with a 4-0 run to close out the match that featured fighting off two USC game-points and winning the fourth-game overtime. Outside attacker Adrian Iglesias finished with 14 kills on a .409 attack percentage. In addition, outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris and opposite Angelos Mandilaris each had a team-high 15 kills against the Trojans. Both Barton and USC following this early season match would end the year as two of the seven teams to make the NCAA Tournament.

2. North Greenville def. No. 10/9 Grand Canyon 12-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 15-13
March 6, 2020

Outside attacker Jackson Gilbert finished with a match-high 18 kills on a .341 attack percentage in a comeback upset win against No. 10/9 Grand Canyon. Gilbert also had a kill and a solo block as part of a 6-0 run in the decisive fifth game to erase a three-point deficit and take the lead. This was North Greenville’s first win in program history against a nationally ranked team and the first time a ConfCarolinas school defeated a top-10 ranked team.

3. Barton def. No. 15 Grand Canyon 27-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-13
Jan. 18, 2019 | Grow the Game Challenge

Barton rallied from a two-game deficit to defeat Grand Canyon and become the first ConfCarolinas team to beat a nationally ranked team. Both teams had a combined 41 blocks in the five-game match with Barton middle attacker Justice Lord having a team-high 10 blocks. Opposite Angelos Mandilaris also led Barton with 19 kills, while outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris added 17 kills against the Antelopes.

4. Lees-McRae def. Ball State 22-25, 25-22, 16-25, 27-25, 16-14
March 27, 2011

Photo courtesy of Lees-McRae athletics

Lees-McRae overcame a three-point deficit midway through the fifth game and fought off a match-point before beating Ball State in overtime. This was the first win not only for any ConfCarolinas school against a team receiving votes in the national coaches poll. Chad Mercado finished with a match-high 24 kills and capped off the upset delivering the match-winning kill in overtime. The Bobcats also had nine blocks and held the Cardinals to a .194 attack percentage.

5. Mount Olive def. George Mason 23-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12
Jan. 15, 2021

Photo courtesy of Mount Olive athletics

Preseason All-American Tobi Azeez finished with a match-high 19 kills and added two aces as Mount Olive beat George Mason for its first win against an EIVA team in six years. The Trojans in the decisive fifth game win committed zero errors and hit a match-best .643. Along with Azeez, middle attacker Eric Visgitis had a match-high seven blocks and contributed 10 kills on a .556 attack percentage against the Patriots.

One Reply to “Top 5 all-time non-conference upsets for ConfCarolinas teams”

  1. March 15, 2014.
    Erskine defeats Cal Bap in 5.
    1st ever conference Carolina win over an MPSF team in volleyball history.
    Second year of the program.
    Wins the conference that year and is the first ever team to go to the NCAAs from the Carolinas as well.

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