HIGH POINT, N.C. – Less than two weeks away from opening the 2018 NCAA men's volleyball season, Belmont Abbey has been picked to finish in a tie for four in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll, the league office announced today. Voting was conducted among conference's eight head coaches.
The Crusaders, who finished fifth last year, received 44 points, the same total as North Greenville. Defending champion Barton led the way with 66 points, including four first-place votes, just two points ahead of Mount Olive, who was picked to win by three coaches. King, which earned 64 points and the final first-place vote was third.
Lees-McRae (39 points), Limestone (37 points) and Erskine (36 points) rounded out the voting.
Sophomore outside hitter Liam Maxwell, senior opposite hitter Gavin Schaffer and senior libero Robert Valentine were listed among the league's players to watch. Maxwell is among 27 players on the preseason watch list for the Karch Kiraly Award, presented annually to the nation's top outside hitter.
Belmont Abbey finished 9-17 overall last year (8-10 in conference play), but finished the regular-season on a five-match winning streak, just one shy of the school record. The Crusaders begin the 2018 campaign next Friday, Jan. 12 at Queens.