It was only fitting in a season when Erskine seemingly came out of nowhere to get into first place, the team was nowhere near the court when it won the program’s first regular season championship.
Erskine on an off-day clinched the Conference Carolinas regular season championship thanks to Barton upsetting second-place Mount Olive on Wednesday in Wilson, N.C.
The Flyers in their program’s second year of existence had won 13 of their last 14 matches to have a half-match first-place lead in the final week of the regular season. In addition, Erskine because of owning the head-to-head tiebreaker needed to win one of its two remaining conference matches or have Mount Olive lose its regular season finale to clinch the regular season title.
Erskine behind sophomore outside attacker Michael Michelau, who is among the nation’s leaders with a 4.01 kills per game average, leads the Conference Carolinas with a .270 team attack percentage. The Flyers in non-conference play also beaome the first Conference Carolinas school to beat a MPSF team when it upset Cal Baptist in March.
Along with its first regular season title, Erskine will have the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Conference Carolinas Tournament and home-court advantage throughout the tournament.
This is the first year that the winner of the Conference Carolinas Tournament will receive an automatic berth to the six-team NCAA Tournament.
The Conference Carolinas Tournament will be a six-team format beginning next week with the two quarterfinal matches. The top two seeds will also have a bye into the semifinals.
Mount Olive with its loss remains in second place by a half-match ahead of third-place Pfeiffer. However, to earn the No. 2 seed and a bye into the conference tournament semifinals Mount Olive needs Pfeiffer to lose its regular season finale against Barton later this week.
Barton outside attacker attacker Zach McCalla had a match-high 24 kills in the victory against Mount Olive. The upset victory also gives the Bulldogs a chance to earn the No. 4 seed and a home match for the conference tournament quarterfinals.