Last week the Lady Mocs (17-15, 12-6 SoCon) were in the Tarheel State for the final conference weekend of the season. This weekend, head coach Lisa Rhodes and crew are hoping for a much better fate than the two losses the Lady Mocs suffered at the hands of UNC Greensboro and Elon.
“We are really ready for this weekend,” Rhodes said. “It is conference tournament time and everyone knows that anything can happen during this weekend and we are expecting to play on Sunday for the Southern Conference Championship.”
For the Lady Mocs to make its championship run, it will need its offense to pick up the pace. Last weekend the team hit only .104 and .131 in its losses to the Spartans and Phoenix.
Courtney Barnes will be one of the Lady Mocs depended on to give the program its first Southern Conference Tournament Title since the 1998 season.
This season the sophomore leads the team in kills (2.45), hitting percentage (.272), and blocks per set (0.82).
Seniors Michaela Huff and Lara Newberry will also be called upon to help lead the Lady Mocs to victory. Huff, the team’s primary setter, leads the team in assists per set with 7.10, while Newberry not only leads the team, but the nation in digs (738) and digs per set (6.53).
First up for the Lady Mocs will be the Furman Paladins (18-13, 11-7 SoCon), who are the No. 2 seed from the SoCon’s South Division. This will be the second time both squads have faced off this season with the Lady Mocs besting the Paladins 3-1 on Oct. 12.
Furman enters Friday’s contest on a three-game winning streak where the Paladins did not drop a set against the likes of Elon, Davidson, and Georgia Southern.
The Paladins are paced by Nicole Palazzo, who leads the team in hitting percentage (.317) and blocks (62).
The Lady Mocs and Paladins matchup will be the first of the tournament with the contest slated to begin at 10 a.m. The victor of this game will play the winner of the Samford/Davidson match on Saturday at 2 p.m.