01/24/08 — Mount Olive unveils spring sports teams

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Mount Olive unveils spring sports teams

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 24, 2008 3:25 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- It may be January but the spring sports season is under way at Mount Olive College and the expectations around Trojans athletics continue to grow.

Both the baseball and softball teams were picked to finish first in Conference Carolinas; while men's and women's golf, track and field and men's volleyball all anticipate having successful seasons.

Mount Olive's baseball squad returns to the diamond after winning a school-record 49 games a season ago and finishing one victory shy of advancing to the NCAA Division II College World Series.

Ranked sixth in the nation in the preseason, the Trojans begin their 2008 campaign on Feb. 2 when seventh-ranked Tusculum (Tenn.) visits Scarborough Field.

Living up to its preseason notoriety while building on last season's success will be the task that lies in front of Mount Olive and its 12 seniors.

"When you lose 16 seniors some people might wonder how you're ranked sixth in the nation and I wondered the same thing," Trojans head coach Carl Lancaster said. "We'll find out in a couple of weeks."

After setting a school-record 39 wins a year ago, Mount Olive's softball program was picked to finish first in the conference after sharing the regular-season title in 2007.

The Trojans begin play Feb. 13 at Chowan and host Newberry on Feb. 15.

For the first time in school history Mount Olive will compete in men's and women's track and field this spring. Cross Country head coach Bill Hodge will guide their Trojans in their initial season. With little time to recruit, Hodge has scoured the Mount Olive campus for athletes and has been forced to hold practices at make-shift sights on campus as well as at Princeton High School.

Walk-on Charlie Bell and the Trojans will look to put Mount Olive track and field on the map as it prepares for Conference Carolinas' first season of league competition in 2009.

"This is a dream come true," Bell said.

Both the men's and women's golf programs have been busy since beginning the fall portion of their schedules in October.

Senior Brad Alford returns to lead a men's team that has qualified for NCAA Division II Super Regionals each of the past two seasons.

The women's golf team returns to the links on Feb. 9-10 to compete in the Tusculum College Tournament at Kiawah Island, S.C. while the men will participate in the Mars Hill College Tournament on Feb. 18-19 at Sunset Beach.

Five seniors return to what head coach Burt Lewis described as a deep and talented men's tennis team. Senior Guilherme Serra, and his 19-1 singles record in conference play, will look to guide a squad that finished third in the conference tournament in 2007. Mount Olive opens play Feb. 2 at Coastal Carolina.

A group of talented but inexperienced athletes will take the court on the women's side after the Trojans earned a seventh-place finish in last April's Conference Tournament.

With just two seniors on his roster, Lewis will rely heavily on senior and Goldsboro native Jennifer Moats-Myers in hopes of improving on last year's 12-16 record.

The men's volleyball squad currently has a 3-2 record and has weekend dates at Pennsylvania-based schools Junlata and St. Francis before visiting Penn State, the nation's third-ranked team.