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GAC Champions: Golden Suns Top HU in 5

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Is there anything sweeter than celebrating a conference championship on your arch rival's home floor? Maybe just one thing --- accomplishing that feat in come-from-behind fashion.

Arkansas Tech (30-3 overall, 14-0 GAC) clinched the inaugural Great American Conference volleyball championship when Harding committed a ball-handling error on the final point of the match and the Golden Suns earned a five-set victory at Rhodes Field House in Searcy on Thursday night.

With the regular season title, Arkansas Tech earns the privilege of hosting the GAC Volleyball Tournament Nov. 11-12 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

The Lady Bisons (20-7, 11-3) won the first two sets 25-20 and 25-22, but the match turned quickly in Arkansas Tech's favor at the end of the third set.

The score was tied 22-22 before a Laura Farney kill, a Sara Motsinger service ace and a Harding service error helped the Golden Suns stay alive with a 25-23 victory in the third set.

Arkansas Tech forced a fifth and decisive set by winning the fourth 25-14.

Harding took a 13-10 lead in the fifth set, but a Farney kill was followed by back-to-back Harding attack errors and the score was tied 13-13.

The Lady Bisons pulled within one point of victory on Kalyn Helton's kill, but that turned out to be Harding's final point of the night.

A Lady Bisons' attack error tied the score at 14-14, and a Sara Motsinger kill put the Golden Suns in front for good. Harding was called for a ball-handling error following a Brennae Benda serve to end the match.

Motsinger had 18 kills, while Farney made 15 kills and 11 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. Tech's Amber Cerrillos had 51 assists, 20 digs and three service aces.

Benda led five Golden Suns in double figures in digs with 27. Taylor Brown notched 17 digs and Marcela Mascarenhas made 14 digs.

Carly Florian and Brittany Ryan recorded nine kills apiece for Arkansas Tech. Ryan had five blocks. Thabata Galvao contributed eight kills.

Mollie Arnold led Harding with 17 kills and 18 digs.

The Golden Suns will be idle until they host Southeastern Oklahoma State for a 7 p.m. GAC match at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday, Nov. 3. Admission will be free.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech volleyball.

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