After losing in the conference championship match last year, Mount Olive is the preseason favorite to win the Conference Carolinas championship in the upcoming season.
Mount Olive received four of the nine first-place votes to narrowly edge out second-place Pfeiffer and finish atop the Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Monday.
Mount Olive last season won 12 of its final 14 regular season matches to qualify for the four-team conference tournament. In addition, the team returns five starters, including all-conference outside attackers Adam Miracle and Angel Dache.
The Trojans received 60 points — five more points than the defending conference champions Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer received three first-place votes and finished two points ahead of third-place Limestone, which received the other two first-place votes.
Lees-McRae and King round out the top five of the conference poll.
Conference Carolina teams begin their seasons later this month and will end their seasons with the conference tournament in April. This is the final season that the champion of the Conference Carolinas will not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Conference Carolinas Preseason Poll
1. Mount Olive — 60 (4) points
2. Pfeiffer — 55 (3) points
3. Limestone — 53 (2) points
4. Lees-McRae — 42 points
5. King — 40 points
6. Belmont Abbey — 22 points
7. Coker — 21 points
8. Barton — 17 points
9. Erskine — 14 points