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April 17, 2024 5:41 am

Mount Olive volleyball tabbed fourth in preseason Conference Carolinas poll

GREENVILLE, S.C. — After posting its most successful season since 2005, the University of Mount Olive women’s volleyball program was slotted fourth recently in the preseason Conference Carolinas poll.

The Trojans featured nine newcomers (7 freshmen, two transfers) to the roster in 2023 after the graduation of eight seniors. Head Coach Emma Celentano enters her fourth year at the helm for Mount Olive and guided to the team to a 23-9 overall record with a 15-2 mark in league action. Last season, UMO claimed a share of the regular season championship and surpassed 20 wins for the first time since 2005.

Senior Morgan Prots earned first-team all-conference honors while ranking among the top 10 in the Southeast Region with 528 total digs and 4.98 digs per set in 2022. She also eclipsed 1,000 career digs last season and was named the Fall Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s volleyball. Junior Ashlyn Stone returns on the outside after garnering Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team honors following an outstanding performance last November. She ranked second on the team with 270.5 points and 246 kills over 107 sets played. Freshman Lyndsay Reid is expected to play a major role with the Trojans this fall after being a two-time Conference Player of the Year and earning all-state accolades her junior and senior year at East Davidson in Thomasville, North Carolina.

Emmanuel was chosen as the heavy favorites in the preseason rankings with eight first-place votes after appearing in the conference tournament final and registering an impressive 24-8 record. UNC Pembroke, the defending conference champions, were voted second in the poll and received two first-place nods, while North Greenville followed close behind in third with a pair of first-place votes. Mount Olive was fourth in the rankings after sharing the regular season crown in 2022, while Francis Marion rounded-out the top five in the conference.

The Conference Carolinas quarterfinals, semifinals and championship will be played on Nov. 17-19 at the North Charleston Athletic Center in South Carolina.

The Trojans begin the 2023 season next weekend with three matches in Hickory, North Carolina, as they face USC Aiken and Valdosta State on Friday, September 1, starting at 11 a.m.