11/02/06 — MOC spikers like underdog role

View Archive

MOC spikers like underdog role

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on November 2, 2006 1:46 PM

After going into the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Volleyball Tournament as one of the top two seeds in each of the last four years, including the No. 1 seed last year, Mount Olive enters this year's tournament as one of the underdogs. But the Trojans are hoping that will work to their advantage.

Coming off a first-round victory Monday, No. 7 seed Mount Olive takes on No. 2 seed Limestone Friday in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament at Spartanburg, S.C.

The remainder of the tournament is hosted by Converse College.

Match time is still to be determined, but will likely take place at approximately 1 p.m. The first match of the day is scheduled for 9 a.m. and each subsequent quarterfinal match will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the previous match. The Trojans and Limestone play in the third match of the day.

Mount Olive (10-19 overall, 8-12 CVAC) advanced to the quarterfinals with a three-game win over Queens Monday. The Trojans posted a pair of 30-21 wins, then mounted a late rally for a 32-30 win in game three. Sam Mitchell tallied her 22nd double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs.

This year's 14-player roster features nine newcomers, including seven freshmen. The Trojans start two freshmen -- setter Joanie Werling and outside hitter Racey Bartley -- and typically have four newcomers on the floor.

Mitchell, a junior and one of five Trojan returnees, says the young team has grown up as the season's progressed.

"As the season has gone on, the team has gotten better," said Mitchell, an outside hitter from Boyd, Wis. "You can't teach experience, but everyone has been working hard and improving."

Mitchell says this season has been a work in progress, but that everybody is on the same page.

"Our communication has gotten better as the season has gone on," said Mitchell. "I think we have very good team chemistry, both on and off the court."

Mitchell is one of several Trojans ranked among the CVAC stats leaders. Mitchell is second in the conference in kills per game with a 4.12 average. Bartley ranks fourth with a .326 hitting percentage, while senior Anna-Marie Luft ranks sixth with a .295 hitting percentage.

Defensively, sophomore transfer Corie Skislak ranks second in the CVAC in blocks with a 1.18 average per game. Senior Nikki Murphy, who has four matches this season of at least 30 digs, ranks sixth in the conference with 4.76 digs per game.

Limestone (25-8, 18-2) performed one of the most dramatic turnarounds in CVAC volleyball history, sharing a regular season conference title only two years after posting back-to-back 0-18 campaigns in CVAC play. Limestone split both matches with co-champion Lees-McRae.

Limestone defeated Mount Olive in both regular season meetings, winning in four games the first time and in three games in the rematch. In the second meeting, games two and three were decided by scores of 33-31 and 30-27.

Three of the Trojans' last five losses went the full five games, all against the top five teams in the CVAC. Mount Olive got a boost last Friday with a five-game win over Pfeiffer, the only conference team to defeat Limestone and Lees-McRae.

"We just need to have that push to win the close games, to win those five-game matches," said Mitchell.

The winner advances to the semifinal round Friday evening against the winner of No. 3 Converse and No. 6 St. Andrews. Match time is approximately 8 p.m., depending on the length of the earlier matches.

Originally, the final three rounds were scheduled to be played Friday through Sunday, but the NCAA required all conference tournaments to be concluded by Saturday. All quarterfinal and semifinal-round matches will be played Friday, with the championship match scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m.

Friday's contest marks the Trojans' first CVAC Tournament match since 2001 as the lower-seeded team. But Mitchell hopes this will take some pressure off of the team.

"I think there's less pressure on us this year," said Mitchell. "Other teams will be more of the targets. I think we can sneak in and surprise some teams."


Live Audio webcasts of Mount Olive's matches at the CVAC Volleyball Tournament are available on the Mount Olive College athletics web site at www.moc.edu and click athletics.

MOC soccer

teams ranked

Both Mount Olive's men's and women's soccer teams are ranked in the top 10 in the final NSCAA Division II Southeast Regional Poll. The Trojans are ranked No. 8 in the men's soccer poll and No. 10 in the women's soccer poll.

The Trojan men's soccer team posted a 12-8-0 record and won nine of its final 12 matches. Mount Olive defeated No. 2 seed Belmont Abbey in the first round of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament. The Trojans spent the last five weeks ranked in the top 10.

The Mount Olive women's soccer team won of 11 of its last 14 matches to finish with a 15-7-0 record. The Trojans matched their highest-ever regional ranking and finished in the year-end top 10 for the second time in three years.