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The big bite

Barton dominates Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball honors

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In the opinion of NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball head coaches, Barton College is home to the best offensive and defensive player in the league.

Those were just two of the awards bestowed upon the Bulldogs on Wednesday afternoon by Conference Carolinas, as junior outside hitter Angelos Mandilaris earned Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. Brkovic, a senior who focused more on his defense in 2019, was rewarded for the transition with the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

In addition, head coach Jeff Lennox was tabbed Coach of the Year after leading Barton to its third straight Conference Carolinas championship and the No. 1 seed in the postseason tournament. The owners of a 24-4 record, Barton will play No. 2 and fellow regular-season champion King University on Thursday for Conference Carolinas’ automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after the Bulldogs ousted No. 5 Limestone on Wednesday night. 

Coming off a regular season where he earned Player of the Week honors on five occasions, Mandilaris leads the Bulldogs in both kills at 409 and kills per set at 4.35.

Brkovic, who labored extensively at the libero position this season, turned his work into a team-leading 245 digs and an average of 2.69 digs per set. The owner of a 3.9 grade point average, Brkovic was the recipient of the first Elite 23 award in Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball, given to the player with the highest cumulative GPA among the teams remaining for the semifinals.

Mandilaris and Brkovic were joined as first-team selections by senior Vasilis Mandilaris and redshirt junior Oscar Fiorentino. Vasilis, the brother of Angelos Mandilaris, is Barton’s all-time leader in kills. Fiorentino has developed into the Bulldogs’ primary setter with 890 assists entering Wednesday’s semifinal.

Belmont Abbey’s Andrew Kohut was named the league’s Freshman of the Year.

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