Suns gain two-game lead in conference

Katie Huff moves into position as Sarita Stegall sets the ball during Friday's Golden Suns volleyball match. Credits: Matthew Emery/The Arka Tech

The Golden Suns (18-5, 10-0 GAC) brought in two more Great American Conference wins against Oklahoma Baptist and Southern Nazarene last week.

Grabbing a marathon first set and riding that momentum the rest of the way, the Arkansas Tech women’s volleyball team swept second-place Oklahoma Baptist to remain undefeated in Great American Conference play and earn head coach Kristy Bayer her 300th career victory.

“We played unbelievable defense tonight,” Bayer said. “Oklahoma Baptist is one of the most defensive teams we have played all year. They came out digging everything we gave them.”

Tech held OBU to a .120 hitting percentage and picked up 90 digs in an excellent defensive performance. Sophomore Madison Nagel led the way with 24 digs, while freshmen Sarita Stegall and Hunter Eshnaur provided 17 and 15, respectively.

The Golden Suns completed their tough two-day swing through Oklahoma Friday, heading to Bethany for a matchup with third-place Southern Nazarene.

The Golden Suns turned back the Crimson Storm (11-13, 7-3 GAC) to earn their 13th consecutive victory this season and run their conference winning streak to 24 straight matches dating back to last season.

In the process, they have opened up a two-game lead on the rest of the league. It was the third straight meeting between the two teams to go five sets, with SNU earning a win after shutting down a comeback attempt last regular season, and Tech charging back to win the final two sets in the GAC title match eight weeks later.

“Even though we didn’t play outstanding, we were still able to fight through it and come away with the win,” Bayer said. “SNU is a tough-serving, aggressive team who went at us hard. We got out of our offensive rhythm a bit, but in the end, we were able to persevere.”

The Golden Suns return home to host Williams Baptist and Bacone in a tri-match Tuesday before welcoming Henderson State to Tucker Coliseum on Thursday to start the final third of the GAC season.

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