MOC men's volleyball team picked to three-peat as Conference Carolinas champion
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 10, 2012 1:48 PM
Its starting lineup nearly intact from one year ago, the Mount Olive College men's volleyball team is favored to defend its Conference Carolinas regular-season championship.
The Trojans, who return five starters and two all-conference selections, earned five first-place votes and 25 points in the coaches' preseason poll. In-state rival Lees-McRae is second, followed by 2011 Conference Carolinas tournament runner-up King (Tenn.) College. Limestone, Pfeiffer and first-year member Barton round out the six-team league.
MOC has won both regular-season and tournament crowns since the league's inception two years ago.
"It's an honor, but we talked about one of our favorite quotes today that opinions are what other people think of you, but results are what you think of yourselves," said MOC head coach Cole Tallman. "We still need to focus on maximizing our opportunities to work harder and get better."
Outside hitters Angel Dache and Adam Miracle received all-league accolades last season, while middle blocker John David Nunns picked up the tournament MVP trophy. Nunns emerged the program's first-ever Academic All-American last season.
Dache ranked fourth in the nation in service aces and Miracle was the country's sixth-best hitter percentage-wise. Nunns would have led the nation in hitting percentage, but needed eight more chances to qualify for the award.
"We're still young, but have a great senior class as well," said Tallman. "We've brought in some young, talented people as well. We've got some experience and enthusiasm that we hope will lead to a very successful season."
The Trojans, who finished 20-7 overall last season, recorded the nation's top hitting percentage as a team and was the national runners-up in aces per set. MOC received votes in the year-end Asics/Volleyball Magazine top 10 poll and 13th nationally overall.
Conference Carolinas takes another step forward this spring moving from an emerging sport to a fully-sponsored conference sport. Barton added the required sixth league team this season. Belmont Abbey, Coker and Erskine will field teams in 2013.
"It's going to be exciting," said Tallman. "We've got six teams now and every single team continues to get better and better."