Arkansas Tech wins 2017 GAC Tournament Championship

Photo by Liz Chrisman, courtesy GAC.

GAC Communications
Eric Moyer, Associate Commissioner for Communications

HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Tech completed an undefeated run through the regular season and 2017 Great American Conference Volleyball Championships as the Golden Suns defeated Harding in a classic five-set match on Saturday from the Bank of Ozarks Arena. Tech setter Amanda Milnick earned Tournament MVP honors.

 GAC Volleyball Championships: Final  1 2 3 4 5
 #2 Harding (27-6) 17 20 25 25 11
 #1 Arkansas Tech (35-0) 25 25 21 20 15

OFFENSIVE LEADERS:                           
HU –              Taylor Mounts: 17 kills, 18.5 points
Emma Reeves: 10 kills, .211 attack percentage
Rachel Heussner: 48 assists, two service aces
ATU –            Tabitha Spray: 12 kills, four service aces, 18.0 points
Allie Anderson: 15 kills, .244 attack percentage
Amanda Milnick: 47 assists, eight kills, .300 attack percentage, 9.5 points

HU –              Zoe Hardin: seven blocks
Emily Smith: six blocks
Taylor Lake: 19 digs
ATU –            Madison Nagel: 34 digs
Lexie Johnston: eight blocks
Greer Rogers: six blocks

FIRST SET HIGHLIGHTS:
Trailing 11-9, Arkansas Tech ripped off 12 of the next 14 points to grab control of the set, eventually taking it by a 25-17 margin. Milnick had a role in 13 of Tech’s 14 kills and she accounted for four kills and assisted on nine others. Spray led with 5.0 points – three kills and two aces while Hunter Eshnaur added three kills and an ace. Mounts led the Lady Bisons with four kills.

SECOND SET HIGHLIGHTS:
The second set featured four ties but the Golden Suns used a 7-1 run in the middle of the set to build an 18-12 led. Harding never drew closer than three points the remainder of the set. Milnick carried her stellar play into the second set as she notched another three kills, two block assists and six assists. Arkansas Tech hit .333 and limited Harding to a .114 mark.

THIRD SET HIGHLIGHTS:
Led by Hardin and Mounts, the Lady Bisons staved off elimination with a 25-21 win in set three. After scoring only 2.5 points in the first two sets, Hardin accounted for 5.5 points. Mounts tallied seven kills and did not commit an error in the set. Heussner added 14 assists in the set. The Harding defense held Arkansas Tech to just a .107 attack percentage.

FOURTH SET HIGHLIGHTS:
The Lady Bisons evened the match, as they never trailed in a 25-20 win. They hit a match-high .333, led by Reeves and Mounts, who combined for eight kills and a .500 attack percentage. Neither committed an error in the set. With the set tied at 15, Harding won 10 of the final 15 points.

FIFTH SET HIGHLIGHTS:
Down 11-9, the Golden Suns scored the final six points to finally finish off the Lady Bisons. Johnston accounted for 4.5 points in the set with a pair of kills, a solo block and three block assists, including a block on match point. The set featured six ties and four lead changes, as many lead changes as any of the four prior sets.

NOTABLE:

  • Arkansas Tech becomes just the sixth program across the GAC to capture four postseason titles joining East Central Men’s Cross Country, Harding Women’s Cross Country, Henderson State Men’s Golf, Ouachita Men’s Tennis, Southern Arkansas Baseball
  • The All-Tournament Team consisted of Milnick, Johnston and Nagel; Harding’s Hardin and Heussner; Southern Nazarene’s Makenna Hunter and Oklahoma Baptist’s MiKayla Watson
  • Third time in GAC history that the Championship final has gone five sets; in 2011 Arkansas Tech defeated Harding and in 2014 Arkansas Tech defeated Southern Nazarene

WHAT’S NEXT:
Arkansas Tech earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament; selection show streams at 6:30 p.m. on Monday on NCAA.com.

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