Both teams that reached the 2017 ConfCarolinas Tournament finals will face Grand Canyon in the upcoming season.
The newest MPSF member Grand Canyon as part of unveiling its 2018 schedule announced Monday that it will begin its season on the road versus Barton and have a two-match home series against Mount Olive.
The season-opener will be the first time since 2010 that the Antelopes will play a non-conference road match against a ConfCarolinas team. In addition, Grand Canyon is 15-1 all-time against the ConfCarolinas with its only loss being a neutral site match during that 2010 road trip.
The Antelopes ended last season winning a program-record 19 matches and was ranked in the national coaches poll for the first time in program history. It also made the program’s deepest postseason run as it advanced to the MIVA Tournament finals.
Grand Canyon departed the MIVA in the offseason to join the MPSF. Among the starters returning for the team’s inaugural season in the West Coast based conference includes All-MIVA outside attacker Cullen Mosher.
Grand Canyon is 4-0 all-time against Barton with its most recent meeting in 2015 also being the last time the Antelopes played a ConfCarolinas school.
The defending ConfCarolinas champions Barton earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance last season. Multiple all-conference starters return for the Bulldogs in the upcoming season, including outside attackers Alesia Brkovic and Vasilis Mandilaris and Freshman All-American opposite Angelos Mandilaris.
Vasilis Mandilaris also had a match-high 13 kills on a .647 attack percentage to help Barton sweep Mount Olive in the conference championship.
Mount Olive finished last season in third place in the ConfCarolinas and reached the conference finals for the second time since the ConfCarolinas started receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. In addition, all-conference opposite Robert Poole highlights the starters returning to the Trojans for the upcoming season.
This two-match series that begins March 9 will be the first all-time meeting between Mount Olive and Grand Canyon.