Heart Stopper: Suns Finish 16-0 Run in GAC

Southwestern Oklahoma State was able to postpone the Arkansas Tech celebration on Friday night, but the Bulldogs could not cancel a night of historic achievements for the Golden Suns volleyball program.

Arkansas Tech (32-3 overall, 16-0 GAC) overcame sluggish play in the third and fourth sets to defeat Southwestern Oklahoma State 25-23, 25-11, 22-25, 22-25, 15-8 in the regular season finale at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

With the win, the Great American Conference regular season champion Golden Suns completed an undefeated run through GAC play in the league’s inaugural season and established a new school record for consecutive home volleyball victories (22).

Laura Farney had 17 kills and 13 digs for the Golden Suns, who earned their 15th straight win overall and improved to 4-1 this season in five-set matches.

Tech’s Sara Motsinger (photographed) made 13 kills. Amber Cerrillos notched 56 assists.

Kelly O’Malley (11 kills) and Brittany Ryan (10 kills) also reached double figures in kills for the Golden Suns. Thabata Galvao recorded nine kills. Brennae Benda was credited with a team-high 22 digs.

Adriana Rodriguez had 13 kills for Southwestern Oklahoma State (9-17, 5-11).

The victory also kept regionally seventh-ranked Arkansas Tech’s hopes of a berth in the NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament alive.

The Golden Suns, who made one previous appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament in 2000, are currently on the bubble to earn an at-large bid. The conventional wisdom is they must win the GAC Volleyball Tournament next weekend in order to remain in contention for a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament South Central Regional.

Due to the fact that the GAC is a new conference, the winner of the league tournament will not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament this season.

The Golden Suns will open the GAC Volleyball Tournament by facing the Arkansas-Monticello Cotton Blossoms for a 5 p.m. first-round match at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Friday, Nov. 11. Arkansas Tech will host the GAC Tournament by virtue of its regular season GAC championship.

Click here to learn more about the 2011 GAC Volleyball Tournament.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech volleyball.