Arkansas Tech Volleyball clinches regular season title


November 9, 2017

SEARCY, Ark. - With a 20-18 win in the fifth set, No. 9 Arkansas Tech defeated Harding, 3-2, on Tuesday to win the Great American Conference regular-season championship. The title is the third regular-season championship over the past four seasons for the Golden Suns, and it is their fourth since the conference formed in 2011.


Arkansas Tech (31-0, 15-0 GAC) returns home for the final match of the regular season, as the Golden Suns host Ouachita on Thursday, Nov. 9. The senior-night match is scheduled for 6 p.m.


Harding (24-5, 12-3 GAC) took the first point of the match and held a lead for much of the first set, until a 5-0 run that featured three aces by Amanda Milnick put Tech ahead, 16-15.

The final 20 points of the first set featured six ties and four lead changes, but Arkansas Tech took four of the final five points to win the set, 27-25, ending the game on Milnick's fourth service ace.

Tech took the first lead of the second set on a kill by Allie Anderson, but the Lady Bisons later used a 7-3 run to take a 10-8 advantage.

Despite Arkansas Tech tying the score six times after Harding's run, the Golden Suns were never allowed to take back the lead. The Lady Bisons won the second set, 25-21, behind a match-high .440 hitting percentage.

The Golden Suns scored 14 of the final 18 points in the third set to win, 25-15, and take a 2-1 lead in the match. Tech's defense limited Harding to just nine kills and a .179 attack percentage, while the Suns' offense committed a match-low four attack errors.

After dropping the third set, Harding responded with a fourth set in which the Lady Bisons posted a team-high 17 kills. The Golden Suns were held to just nine kills and forced to commit seven attack errors.

The final set of the match featured nine ties and six lead changes. Tech took an early, 4-1, advantage to force a Harding timeout, but the Lady Bisons eventually tied the score, 8-8, with four straight points.

The Golden Suns then took another three-point lead at 13-10, but Harding once again answered with four consecutive points to take a 14-13 lead. After trading points back-and-forth, Harding took a 17-16 lead for its third match-point of the set.

Lexie Johnston saved the Suns from their first loss of the season with her 21st kill of the match to even the score, 17-17, and Milnick ended the match and Harding's hopes of an upset soon after with her fifth ace.


With the victory, Arkansas Tech moves to three matches ahead of Harding, clinching the outright regular-season conference championship. The Suns also secure their 31st consecutive victory.

Milnick recorded her third triple-double of the season and fourth of her career, tallying season-highs with 51 assists and 11 kills, to go along with 15 digs. Eshnaur added her third double-double of the season with 13 digs and 11 kills.

Johnston's match-high 21 kills are the most in her career as a Golden Sun, and she also led all players with a .500 attack percentage. Greer Rogers followed with 11 kills and a .409 hitting percentage, while Madison Nagel tied a season-high with 22 digs.

Harding finished the match with a .290 attack percentage, marking the first time this season that Arkansas Tech has allowed its opponents to have a higher hitting percentage. The Suns recorded a season-high 73 kills, however, and finished with eight service aces while allowing the Lady Bisons just one.


"I am extremely proud of the way we finished tonight. Offensively, we struggled at times. Our middles stepped up big time and terminated for us. Lexie Johnston was unstoppable."

"Amanda Milnick worked very hard tonight. She led us to victory. She continues to amaze me with her athletic ability, decision making and performance under pressure."

"A huge thank you to all the fans who made the trip to Searcy. We loved celebrating our conference championship with them. It means a lot to us that such a large group made the trip to cheer us on."


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