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February 29, 2024 7:06 pm

Trojans share regular-season volleyball title

WILSON  – Senior Amara Eziakonwa registered a season-high 17 kills as the Trojans claimed a share of the Conference Carolinas Eastern Division championship following a 3-1 victory at Barton on the final day of league play Nov. 1 by scores of 19-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-13.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s volleyball program stretched its winning streak to 10 and improved to 22-8 this season with a 15-2 record in conference action. UMO secured its first regular season title since 2005, which was the last time the program eclipsed the 20-win mark.

The Trojans earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament and receive a bye to the quarterfinals, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 11, at 5 p.m., in Pembroke. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell to 8-16 overall behind a 7-10 mark in league play.

Eziakonwa’s 17 kills led the team and she added two service aces and four blocks in the win. The Florida native closed the regular season by surpassing 400 points behind a team-leading 297 kills, 57 service aces, and 83 blocks. Sophomore Neza Pec tallied her fifth kill/dig double-double of the year after recording 10 kills and 11 digs. Senior Alyssa Jackson also delivered seven kills. Madison Goodman had 21 assists and Jenna Myer had 15.

Sophomore Morgan Prots led the defensive effort with 23 digs, her 12th time this season totaling at least 20 digs. Goodman posted an assist/dig double-double after reaching double-figures with 11 digs. The Trojans controlled the net with 10 total blocks, led by Jackson with six and Eziakonwa with four.

The Bulldogs took the first after totaling a match-high 18 kills. The opening set featured limited separation with the contest tied at 15 after both sides traded consecutive points. Barton rallied off an 8-2 run to take a comfortable 23-17 lead. The Trojans were unable to overcome the deficit, as the Bulldogs secured a 25-19 win.

In the second set, Mount Olive tied the match behind a team-high 17 kills. UMO managed to take a 13-7 lead following kills from five players. Barton answered by scoring six of the next nine points to cut the deficit to 16-13 before tying the match at 18 with a 5-2 rally. The Trojans reclaimed the advantage by tallying three of four points before a kill by the Bulldogs closed the gap to 21-20. UMO finished the set with a 4-1 run to claim the victory, 25-21.

The Trojans won the third set after taking a 15-10 lead following three straight points. A service error halted the run before Mount Olive scored five of the following seven points to take a commanding 20-13 advantage. UMO closed out the third set 25-13 with five consecutive points with a pair of kills from Pec.

Mount Olive sealed the victory in the fourth behind 11 kills. The Trojans jumped out to a 10-5 lead following a kill by Jackson. The Bulldogs stopped the run with a kill before Mount Olive used a 6-1 rally to take a 16-7 advantage. Barton countered by scoring four of the following six points to cut the deficit to 18-11. UMO claimed the 25-13 win after a 7-2 run, which included three service aces by Myer.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics