The Arka Tech

Suns shift sights to GAC Championship

Ricci logan/The Arka Tech Greer Rogers from Fort Smith led the Golden Suns in blocks this season with 107.

The Golden Suns volleyball team has made history by finishing 32-0 in the regular season after a comeback win last Thursday over the Ouachita Baptist Lady Tigers, in front of a Great American Conference record-setting crowd of 1,492. The Golden Suns beat the Lady Tigers in the fifth set, only their third fifth set appearance of the season. The Golden Suns are one of two undefeated teams in Division II volleyball this season.

The Golden Suns dominated the regular season, winning 23 of 32 matches with a 3-0 sweep. They only dropped 12 sets out of a total of 108. “It feels really good; we have worked hard from the beginning of the season,” Madison Nagel, from Rowlett, Texas, said. “It feels like we have accomplished what we came here for.” Nagel has had a tremendous year, becoming the first Golden Sun to have over 2,000 career digs, as she helped lead this team to their perfect record.

The Golden Suns won the first set against the Lady Tigers, only to drop the next two sets. This put the Lady Tigers in a 2-1 lead, only one set away from ending the Golden Suns hopes for an undefeated season. “Our backs were against the wall, and we were playing from behind just about the whole game. We had to come back out with some confidence, and that is just a great way to end the regular season,” Kristy Bayer, head coach of the Golden Suns volleyball team, said.

In the fourth set, the Golden Suns took a quick lead and kept it throughout the set to force a fifth.

In the fifth and final set, the Golden Suns jumped to a quick 4-1 lead. The Lady Tigers fought back, making it 10-10. From here, Hunter Eshnaur, from Russellville, and Lexie Johnston, from Nixa, Missouri, came through, both combining for three kills and one block to seal the win at 15-12.

“It feels like a lot of the pressure is finally off of us. There seemed to be a lot of pressure on us, not many teams can say they are undefeated,” Bayer said.

Ninth ranked Golden Suns are 1st in the GAC and have clinched the top seed in the GAC Championship, which will be hosted in Hot Springs starting tonight at 5 p.m. in the Bank of the Ozarks Arena. “We are going to prepare for the conference tournament. First seed doesn’t guarantee an easy route to the championship, so we are going to prepare” Bayer said. The Golden Suns will take on the 8th seeded Southeastern Oklahoma in the first match-up of the tournament.