Lady Lions advance to title match

FORT SMITH — Quick and easy.

Top-seeded UAFS wasted little time in earning its third consecutive trip to the Heartland Conference Volleyball Tournament championship match, sweeping No. 4 seed St. Mary’s on Friday night at the Stubblefield Center.

The Lady Lions won the match 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.

UAFS (22-8) will play the winner of No. 2 Dallas Baptist and No. 3 St. Edward’s at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the title match. The Lady Lions are the two-time defending conference tournament champions.

Freshman outside hitter Payton Hamilton and senior middle hitter Jordan Erz led a balanced UAFS offense with eight kills apiece.

Senior setter Stephanie Brock had a team-high 19 assists, and freshman setter Maja Krstonosic had 15 assists.

Freshman libero Emily Tripp, who was this week’s Conference Libero of the Week, led UAFS with 25 digs and was one of three Lady Lions with double-digit digs.

Sophomore right-side hitter Jenna Paul led St. Mary’s (14-15) with nine kills. Freshman setter Rachael Scicchitano had 20 assists, while sophomore setter Mikayla Bass had 12 assists.

Suns to play for GAC title

HOT SPRINGS — Junior Emily Todd turned in a 12-kill, 14-dig effort, senior Amber Cerrillos dished out 35 assists, while sophomore Morgan McKellar added 23 digs as the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (24-11) advanced to the Great American Conference championship game with a 3-0 semifinal win over third-seeded East Central on Friday at Summit Arena.

The second-seeded Golden Suns will play in the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday, facing Harding. Tech and Harding have met in the first two title games, with the two teams splitting wins (Tech winning in 2011, Harding winning in 2012).

Tech picked up the 3-0 win after winning the opening set 25-17, the second set 25-18, and holding off a late rally to win the final set 25-20.

Harding reaches title match

HOT SPRINGS — Senior outside hitter Mollie Arnold had 24 kills and a career-high 25 digs as the Harding volleyball team defeated Ouachita Baptist 3-2 on Friday in the Semifinals of the Great American Conference Tournament at Summit Arena. The Lady Bisons will face Arkansas Tech for the third straight year in the championship match on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Arnold’s kills and Harding’s 81 team kills set a new GAC Tournament record. The Lady Bisons’ team kills ranked fourth most in Harding history.

Along with Arnold, Harding had three other players post a double-figure outing. Junior middle blocker Liv Savage had a career-high 18 kills. Junior outside hitter Marindia Turner had 15 kills and senior middle blocker Alyssa Short had 12.

Junior setter Taryn Eubank set a new GAC Tournament record in assists with a career-high 57 and Harding’s 69 team assists set a new school record in a conference tournament match.

Harding had 112 digs in the match which set a new high for Harding in a conference tournament match. Two other players along with Arnold finished with 20 or more digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Shelby Daniel had a career-high 22 and senior defensive specialist Lisa Copeland had 20. It was the first time in a GAC Tournament match three players has had 20 or more digs in a match.

A-State falls to Texas State in semis

TROY — The Arkansas State volleyball team’s season came to a close with a loss to Texas State 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-20) in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Sadie Clark led the Red Wolves (15-20) in kills with nine, while Jackie Gerig dished out 11 assists to lead A-State. Defensively, Megan Baska led the Red Wolves with 15 digs to end her season with 623 and her illustrious career with 2,190. Kelsey Sullivan recorded three blocks while Kelsey Reis and Kendal Davis each had a service ace each.

A-State has advanced the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in both of Coach Rehr’s two seasons as head coach.