Postseason volleyball will return to the Arkansas Tech University campus for the first time in 12 years when the Golden Suns host the inaugural Great American Conference Volleyball Tournament at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville this weekend.
Admission to all seven matches during the tournament will be free. Arkansas Tech (32-3) earned the privilege of hosting the GAC Volleyball Tournament by rolling through the double round-robin league schedule with an unblemished record of 16-0. The last time the Golden Suns hosted a postseason league volleyball tournament was in 1999, when they advanced to the championship match of the Gulf South Conference Volleyball Tournament before falling to eventual NCAA Division II South Central Region champion North Alabama. A new era continues this weekend as the Great American Conference, which was approved as the 23rd NCAA Division II conference on March 9, 2011, conducts its first postseason volleyball championship tournament.
Arkansas Tech will take on eighth-seeded Arkansas-Monticello (7-22) in a first-round match at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11.
The winner of the Tech-UAM match will advance to a 2:30 p.m. semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 12, against either Ouachita Baptist or East Central. OBU and ECU will meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The other half of the bracket finds No. 3 seed Southeastern Oklahoma State (14-18) pitted against sixth-seeded Southern Arkansas (16-15) at noon Friday and second-seeded Harding (23-7) scheduled to face No. 7 seed Southwestern Oklahoma State (9-18) at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
The winners of those matches will play in the first semifinal at noon Saturday. The championship match is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Arkansas Tech enters the weekend as the only GAC team with an opportunity to advance to the NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament.
The Golden Suns are ranked seventh in the most recent NCAA Division II South Central Region rankings, and the conventional wisdom is they must win the GAC Tournament to remain in contention for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Because the GAC is a new conference, the champion of the GAC Tournament will not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament this season. For more about the GAC Volleyball Tournament, visit http://www.greatamericanconference.com/.
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