11/04/05 — Trojan women face Lees-McRae for CVAC supremacy

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Trojan women face Lees-McRae for CVAC supremacy

Published in Sports on November 4, 2005 2:00 PM

In the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference, what could be bigger than a volleyball matchup between Mount Olive and Lees-McRae? How about a Mount Olive/Lees-McRae match-up that decides the regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

The regular season conference title and the top seed in the CVAC Tournament are on the line as regionally seventh-ranked Mount Olive travels to Banner Elk, N.C., Saturday to face regionally eighth-ranked Lees-McRae in CVAC volleyball. The match is the regular season finale for the two conference co-leaders and regional top 10 teams. Match time is 2 p.m.

Mount Olive (25-6 overall, 18-1 CVAC) extended its overall winning streak to 10 and clinched its second consecutive unbeaten season on its home court with a three-game victory over Pfeiffer Wednesday. The match marked the final career home contest for seniors Heidi Busch, Sara Christie and Colby Mangum.

As they have throughout their career, all three seniors rank among the conference statistical leaders. Busch is third in kills per game and sixth in hitting percentage; Christie leads the conference in assists per game and ranks fourth in aces; Mangum has the second-highest hitting percentage and ranks sixth in blocks per game.

Busch and Christie continue their assault on the NCAA II career record book. Busch ranks eighth on the all-time kills list with 2,373 career kills. Christie ranks 19th in career assists with 5,774 and is 16 assists away from moving into 18th place.

A balanced attack at the net has been a key for the Trojans during their winning streak. Mount Olive has placed four players in double figures in kills six times in their last 10 matches. In two other matches during the streak, Mount Olive has come within one kill of four players in double figures.

The winning streak has enabled Mount Olive players to win CVAC Player of the Week honors in each of the last two weeks. Sam Mitchell won the award last week and Anna Luft won this week, giving the Trojans an unusual accomplishment: four different players, each from a different class, have been named CVAC Volleyball Player of the Week this season: Busch (senior), Luft (junior), Mitchell (sophomore) and Mallory Peavler (freshman).

Lees-McRae (24-9, 18-1) is coming off a 3-0 win over Barton Tuesday as the Bobcats regained sole possession of first place in the conference standings for 24 hours.

Mount Olive has won the last two meetings against Lees-McRae, winning a five-game thriller October 18 at Kornegay Arena. Mitchell recorded 21 kills for the Trojans in the contest, which was win number three in their current winning streak.

Along with deciding a conference title, Saturday's match will have an impact in the NCAA II Atlantic Region rankings. Mount Olive moved ahead of Lees-McRae in this week's rankings as the two teams traded places in the top 10.

Regardless of Saturday's outcome, both teams have clinched first-round byes in the CVAC Tournament, which gets underway November 11 at Laurinburg, N.C.

The Trojan seniors are excited to play their regular season finale against Lees-McRae with so much at stake.

"This is a fitting way to finish the regular season, playing at Lees-McRae for a conference title," said Mangum. "That's a tough place today. They always have an enthusiastic and vocal crowd. We won a close match against them at our place and if we want to win again, we need to stay focused and play with intensity."

MOC up to No. 7

Mount Olive, which is on a 10-match winning streak, moved up a spot to No. 7 in this week's NCAA Division II Volleyball Atlantic Regional Poll, the third poll of the season. The top six spots remain unchanged. Mount Olive is 25-6 overall and is tied with regionally eighth-ranked Lees-McRae for first place in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference standings with a 17-1 mark. This week's poll is the first since the Trojans' five-game victory over Lees-McRae on October 18.

In addition to a 10-match winning, Mount Olive extended its home winning streak to 21 matches with a 3-0 win over Pfeiffer in its home finale Wednesday. The Trojans have gone unbeaten at home in each of the last two seasons. Two-time Atlantic Region champion Lock Haven is No. 1 again this week, followed by California (Pa.) at No. 2.