09/30/10 — Barton sweeps Trojans in volleyball

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Barton sweeps Trojans in volleyball

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 30, 2010 2:28 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The light switch remains off.

Cole Tallman hopes someone turns it on ... soon.

Freshman-laden Mount Olive College continued its struggles on the volleyball court Wednesday evening. Defensive lulls and inconsistent play on offense translated to a 16-25, 19-25, 16-25 loss to archrival Barton College at Kornegay Arena.

The Bulldogs claimed their first victory over the Trojans since 2004, and snapped an 11-game skid in the Conference Carolinas series. MOC has won 20 of 23 meetings overall since 2001.

"It's been since my junior college days (as coach) that I've had so many young people who are impact players at the same time (on the court)," said Tallman. "They have moments that are just brilliant. We also have moments that we are making mistakes that aren't forced by our opponent. As a coach and also as fans of the game, that's hard to watch sometimes."

Mount Olive committed 34 total errors, including 19 in the hitting game during the 60-minute, three-set affair. The Trojans managed 32 kills -- eight from freshman middle hitter Carly White and six apiece from Tiffany Hight, Erika Conner and Lauren Lee.

Kailey Preece dished out 28 assists, while libero Feliz Ramirez collected a match-high 11 digs.

Barton powered through double-block attempts and then hit off-speed shots in open spaces either behind or between the defense throughout the evening. The Bulldogs limited the Trojans, ranked 12th nationally in blocks per set, to just three team blocks on the night.

Outside hitter Melissa Ritter, who has earned league player-of-the-week honors this season, led Barton's offense with a match-high 15 kills.

"I know we're not supposed to be in system all the time, but we prepare really hard to be ready out of system," said Tallman. "(Barton) did a great job today of keeping balls alive. We had a lot of free opportunities that if we simply stayed at the net and hit the bad passes, or out-of-control dinks, we would have nine, 10 or 11 points.

"For a team like ourselves, that is still learning how to play, that's a huge difference."

The Bulldogs (8-8 overall, 6-2 CC) controlled the tempo in each set and used significant runs -- either early or late -- to prevent the Trojans from gaining any momentum. Ritter had a block and four kills down the stretch in the second set and closed out the match with a kill off a double-block attempt.

Mount Olive (3-11, 1-5) begins a four-match road swing Friday at reigning league champion Lees-McRae. The Trojans visit Belmont Abbey on Saturday.