The Conference Carolinas Quarterfinals took place two days ago as now things have been whittled down to the last four teams and the semifinals round of the event. Earlier we posted a preview of the entire tournament and specifically the round ahead in the quarterfinals, so let’s take a look into the next round ahead in the semifinals as just three matches remain before an NCAA Tournament bid is given out.
Tuesday, Apr. 17 (at Higher Seed)
Match 1: No. 8 Lees-McRae vs. No. 1 King – 6:30 p.m. (3-0 King)
Match 2: No. 5 North Greenville vs. No. 4 Belmont Abbey – 6:30 p.m. (3-1 BA)
Match 3: No. 6 Limestone vs. No. 3 Mount Olive – 6:30 p.m. (3-0 UMO)
Match 4: No. 7 Erskine vs. No. 2 Barton – 6:30 p.m. (3-0 Barton)
Friday, Apr. 20 (at Highest Seed Remaining: King)
Match 5: No. 4 Belmont Abbey at No. 1 King
Match 6: No. 3 Mount Olive vs. No. 2 Barton
Saturday, Apr. 21 (at Highest Seed Remaining: King)
Match 7: Match 5 Winner vs. Match 6 Winner TBA
4-seed Belmont Abbey (13-15, 8-8) at 1-seed/#17 King (21-5, 15-1)
- Season series: King, 2-0 (King 3-0 at Belm. Abbey; King 3-0 vs. Belm. Abbey)
- King only let Belmont Abbey reach the 20-point plateau once among the six sets against each other, as the Tornado get to host this one for a spot in the Conference Carolinas Championship. It’s actually the round that King lost in last year as they were upended, but Belmont Abbey will need their block and serve to be more active, as well as find more efficiency on offense after they hit just .133 and .056 in the first two meetings. That heavily contrasts with King, who hit .435 and .319 and posted 19 blocks with aggressive serving. If the Tornado play their game, they should have the edge in this one.
3-seed Mount Olive (16-12, 11-5) at 2-seed/(RV) Barton (20-7, 15-1)
- Season series: Barton, 2-0 (Barton 3-2 at UMO; Barton 3-1 vs. UMO)
- Although Barton won the prior two, Mount Olive wasn’t far off, which should give them confidence. The biggest challenge for UMO was finding consistent success offensively, as they held Barton – who has hit .326 in Conference Carolinas matches – to a .244 mark combined in the two matches but hit just .211 themselves. They have the top ace per set mark in the conference though, and totaled 12 aces in the second meeting, so they know they can find success there. The issue is that Barton’s offense is so balanced and efficient that even if the UMO serve is working along with their defense, it’s too much to overcome. That makes the biggest key to this one the Barton serve/defense against the UMO offense.