By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Thursday, January 26, 2012 —
This Saturday is a date for Pfeiffer athletics that has been circled on the calendar for a long time.
The Pfeiffer men’s volleyball squad opens its season with a home game against a true NCAA Division I opponent in Ball State.
Saturday’s game has been designated as a “blackout” day, with all Pfeiffer fans asked to wear black to both the men’s volleyball game and the basketball games later in the day with Belmont Abbey.
Men’s volleyball has only been a sport at Pfeiffer since 2010, and the conference itself has been adding programs as well, up to seven this coming season.
The NCAA only plays men’s volleyball in one division, which gives the Falcons the opportunity to play and recruit against teams that are among the biggest schools in the country.
“It proves that we are emerging in the sport and can compete with those higher levels,” Pfeiffer head coach Steve Bintz said.
The head coach said that the program is in a completely different place than in 2010, when then-president Charles Ambrose and other college presidents in Conference Carolinas were inspired by the men’s volleyball of the 2008 Summer Olympics to start programs at their respective schools.
Pfeiffer now recruits across the country and internationally, while also boasting a competitive schedule that will have the Falcons travelling to Florida, Missouri and New York City.
“Our competitive schedule will elevate our name in the community. On campus, the team has gotten people excited about men’s volleyball,” Bintz said.
This season, Barton becomes the sixth team in Conference Carolinas, along with Pfeiffer, Limestone, King, Mount Olive and Lees-McRae. Four of those teams will play in an abbreviated conference tournament.
Next season, Belmont Abbey, Coker and Erskine will begin programs, bringing the total to nine teams. According to Bintz, the winner of the Conference Carolinas tournament in 2014 will get an automatic bid into the national tournament.
Competitively, Bintz said the Falcons stack up evenly with the rest of the conference.
“There will be a huge battle at the top for the top two spots. We are working well together, we have great cohesion and will be competitive,” Bintz said.