Bulldog volleyball moves to tourney final for second straight year with win over Limestone

Sophomore Aleksa Brkovic goes up for one of his match-high 12 kills in Barton's 3-0 win over Limestone in the Conf. Carolinas Tournament Semifinals in Wilson on Friday. | Photo by Brittany Arent
Sophomore Aleksa Brkovic goes up for one of his match-high 12 kills in Barton's 3-0 win over Limestone in the Conf. Carolinas Tournament Semifinals in Wilson on Friday. | Photo by Brittany Arent

by Cory Guinn

WILSON, N.C. – For the second consecutive season, the men's volleyball is headed to the Conference Carolinas Tournament Finals after a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) victory over Limestone in the semifinals on Friday night.

Barton (22-5) entered as the tournament's No. 1 overall seed and did disappoint, hitting .360 as team with three players finishing with double-digit kills. The Saints (13-11) were the No. 4 overall seed and hit just .216 as a unit.

Sophomore Aleksa Brkovic led all players with 12 kills and hit .400 in the match to go along with six digs. Fellow sophomore Vasilis Mandilaris also had six digs as well as 10 kills, while freshman Vasilis Mandilaris chipped in 10 kills of his own.

Senior setter Federico Pagliara had 34 assists on offense, while senior libero Jonathan Novoa-Miralles led the defense with nine total digs.

The Bulldogs had just three errors in the opening set of play, leading to a three-point victory. The two sides began a back-and forth affair early before five unanswered points gave Barton a 12-10 lead. Barton's lead grew to a five-point margin as the team never trailed down the stretch.

Limestone built another early lead in the second set, but BC went on a 7-0 run midway through the period to build a 19-12 lead. The Saints cut the Barton lead to two points before a service error put the Bulldogs ahead 2-0 in the match.

Momentum carried over into the third set for Barton with a 4-0 lead following a Limestone attack error, two Brkovic kills and a service ace from A. Mandilaris. BC never relinquished the lead en route to the three-set victory.

Barton will now face off against No. 3 seed University of Mount Olive tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.