One of the few conferences that is underway is the Conference Carolinas as every team has played multiple league matches with a majority appearing in four. As we will do during league play for every conference, we take a dive into an occasional update of what’s going on this league.
Below is analysis as well as the weekly Conference Carolinas table:
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS TABLE:
MATCHES OF THE WEEK:
- Feb. 6: Coker (4-1) at Barton (4-5)
- Feb. 9: Barton (4-5) at #20 George Mason (3-6)
- Feb. 9: North Greenville (5-6, 2-2) at Limestone (2-8, 0-3)
- Feb. 10: Coker (4-1) at (RV) King (7-2)
- Feb. 10: Belmont Abbey (1-5, 1-1) at Emmanuel (2-6, 1-3)
THREE-WAY RACE FOR THE TOP
- (RV) King (7-2, 4-0)
The Tornado have been the king of the offensive side of the ball thus far in the Conference Carolinas as they rank first in all of the offensive categories in the league. They also have the top blocking team and one of the best floor defenses. Obviously that combination shows their balance, as their dynamic tandem of Jeff Sprayberry and Kiel Bell (who both rank in the top five of the conference in kills per set and hitting percentage), lead the way to make them the early favorite at this point.
- Mount Olive (5-3, 4-0)
Mount Olive’s offense hasn’t been as dynamic as King’s, but it’s still one of the better groups in the league. That is spearheaded by Robert Poole, who leads the Conference Carolinas in kills per set (3.68) and is fourth in hitting percentage (.285). While they need to establish some more balance as the season goes on, their strong serve that helps keep teams out of system along with Poole should keep them among the top of the standings and in contention.
- Barton (4-5, 4-0)
Barton follows the King team-orientation in terms of a really strong offense to pair with front-line blocking. The problem is they sit behind the Tornado in those offensive statistics and lack the serve and floor defense of some others in the conference. If their overall defense and serve ability rises to meet with that offense, Barton should stick right with King and Mount Olive as they look to defend their Conference crown and make the NCAA Tournament once again.
THE NEXT TIER
- North Greenville (5-6, 2-2)
Currently on the fringe of that top three is North Greenville. While they have plenty of competition for this spot, their ability to block with the best of them in the Conference Carolinas separates them from the pack. The key to staying in this conversation though and maybe even moving up will be to find more offensive balance beyond Jackson Gilbert and a stronger serve/serve receive game.