Arkansas Tech and Harding were picked first and second in the preseason Great American Conference volleyball poll. They finished first and second in the GAC regular standings. And now they are the final two teams standing in the inaugural GAC Volleyball Tournament.
The championship match is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight (Saturday, Nov. 12) at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville. No admission will be charged.
The top-seeded Golden Suns (34-3) earned the final spot in the tournament championship match by defeating East Central University 25-14, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17 at Tucker Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
Laura Farney had 16 kills, Amber Cerrillos made 46 assists and nine digs, Brennae Benda had 23 digs and Brittany Ryan notched 12 kills and six blocks to lead Arkansas Tech past East Central (14-18).
The Harding Lady Bisons (25-7) punched their ticket to the finals by dispatching Southern Arkansas 25-14, 25-18, 26-24 in Saturday's first semifinal.
And so now the first GAC Volleyball Tournament title comes down to two programs that have become each other's top rival over the past decade-plus. Arkansas Tech and Harding combined to win 12 Gulf South Conference West Division championships from 1997-2010, and the formation of a new league has done nothing to hurt the rivalry between the two sides.
The Golden Suns defeated the Lady Bisons twice during the regular season, but both matches went five sets. Arkansas Tech rallied from down two sets to defeat Harding in Searcy on Oct. 27. With the win, the Golden Suns clinched the inaugural GAC regular season title.
Arkansas Tech can have a matching set of 2011 GAC volleyball trophies --- one from the regular season and one from the postseason --- if the Golden Suns can complete a season sweep of the Lady Bisons tonight.
Click here to view the GAC Tournament home page and access live video of tonight's championship match.
Click here to lean more about Arkansas Tech volleyball.]]>