Greenville, SC - Conference Carolinas announced the 2019 Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll on August 14 with the Emmanuel College Lions named the front runner. The defending Conference Carolinas Champions picked up nine first place votes to lock down 119 points. The Lions advanced to the Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament in 2018, defeating the Lees-McRae Bobcats 3-1 in the quarterfinals and the Barton Bulldogs 3-0 in the semifinals to advance to the championship. They defeated the Belmont Abbey Crusaders 3-1 in the championship to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament. However, they fell to the Wingate Bulldogs in the first round. They concluded their 2018 season with a 23-9 overall record.
Emmanuel was closely followed in the poll by the Belmont Abbey Crusaders with three first place votes for a total score of 111. The Crusaders advanced to the Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament as the second seed last season. They defeated the Southern Wesleyan University Warriors 3-1 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals against the King Tornado, the Crusaders won 3-2 and advanced to the championship game where they fell to Emmanuel, 3-1. Coming in third in the preseason poll votes are the Barton Bulldogs with 97 points. The Bulldogs advanced to the post-season tournament last year. They defeated the Limestone Saints 3-2 in the quarterfinals before falling to Emmanuel 3-1 in the semifinals. The King Tornado landed in the fourth place position and received 87 points after going 18-11 in their 2018 campaign. The Tornado defeated the No. 2 seed, the North Greenville Crusaders, in the quarterfinals to advance to semifinals. However, they fell to the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in a 3-2 final to conclude their season. King was followed by the North Greenville Crusaders with 83 overall points. The Crusaders went 18-12 last season and were 10-5 in Conference Carolinas action. Their record allowed them to advance to the Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament where they were defeated by the King Tornado in a five-set thriller.
Taking the sixth place spot in the poll was the Limestone Saints with 78 points. Limestone went 12-13 last season and posted a 9-6 conference record. They advanced to the Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament, but fell to the Barton Bulldogs in the first round in a 3-2 final. The Southern Wesleyan University Warriors followed the Saints in seventh place with 53 overall points. The Warriors went 8-18 last season and put up a 5-10 conference record. They did advance to the Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament, however, they fell to the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in a 3-1 final. The Bobcats of Lees-McRae landed the eighth place position with 49 points after a 3-11 conference record last year. The Bobcats fell to the Emmanuel Lions in a 3-1 final in the first round of the tournament.
The Erskine Flying Fleet followed the Bobcats in ninth place with 42 points. The University of Mount Olive Trojans collected 30 points and landed the 10th place position. The new addition to Conference Carolinas, the Chowan Hawks, gained 22 points and claimed 11th place entering their first season with the conference. The Converse Valkyries wrapped up the preseason poll in 12th place with 21 overall points.
The Warriors posted 883 kills last season with hitting percentage of .114%. From the serving line, the Warriors came out strong in the 2018 season with 134 aces and also tallied 1,502 digs. At the net, Southern Wesleyan held a presence and boasted 68 solo blocks. Olivia Johnson (Jr.) will be returning for the Warriors after collecting first-team All-Conference Carolinas accolades. Also joining Johnson as players to watch include Kali Letcher (Fr.), Johanna Philyaw (Fr.), and Sarah Stone (Sr.). Head Coach Julia Reininga says, "I'm very excited for the 2019 season. I can't wait to get in the gym and start working as a team. Conference Carolinas is getting stronger ever year. I'm anticipating some excellent volleyball and some excellent competition!"
First serve takes place on September 6 at the Flagler Invitational as they take on the Rollins Tars at 10 a.m. Southern Wesleyan will travel to play the Barton Bulldogs on September 27 at 7 p.m. in the first Conference Carolinas match-up of the season. The first home game of the 2019 season will be against the Bob Jones Bruins at 7 p.m. on September 30. The Warriors host the first Conference Carolinas game on October 1 as the King Tornado come to town at 7 p.m.