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March 3, 2024 10:50 pm

Mount Olive tied for third in conference men’s volleyball poll

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball program tied for third in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll, which was announced by the league office on Dec. 5.

The Trojans finished with a 16-7 record with an 11-3 conference record last season, which tied for second in the league standings. UMO advanced to the conference tournament final against North Greenville before falling in a five-set thriller. Mount Olive will feature an entirely new starting lineup heading into 2023 after the graduation of six seniors.

The UMO men’s volleyball program announced the hiring of Omar Sanchez as head coach in September. He joins the Trojans after serving four seasons at Missouri Valley College in the same role. Sanchez led the Vikings to double-digit victories every year with the team, highlighted by an 18-6 record in 2021. Missouri Valley finished that season as No. 7 nationally ranked and earned their first appearance in the NAIA tournament, while Sanchez was recognized as Coach of the Year by the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

North Greenville was chosen as the unanimous preseason favorites in the conference after posting a 21-6 overall record in 2022 while earning the regular season and tournament title. The Crusaders also become the first Conference Carolinas program to win in the NCAA tournament after sweeping Princeton. King was picked second in the rankings behind an 11-3 record in league play last year and a trip to the semifinals of the conference tournament. Belmont Abbey and Mount Olive tied for third in the poll with the Crusaders earning one first-place vote. Emmanuel rounded out the top five in the rankings followed by Erskine, Lees-McRae and Barton.

The Conference Carolinas semifinals and championship will be played on Apr. 21-22 in the Student Center Complex on the campus of King University in Bristol, Tenn.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics