By Mike DeVader, Reinhardt Director of Athletic Communications & Media
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Reinhardt volleyball tasted the sweet nectar of victory for the 32nd time on Saturday afternoon, and in doing so, claimed another Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship banner with a 3-0 win over the Buffaloes of Milligan (Tenn.).
The Eagles (32-2) took the Buffaloes' biggest punch in the opening set despite starting the match on fire with the first half-dozen points. Milligan would rebound nicely to take a 20-17 lead and even find itself on the doorstep of a 1-0 win at 24-22. Reinhardt would fight back not once, but twice (down, 25-24) before netting three-straight points to take the opening stanza, 27-25.
The hometown team used the close call as the turning point of the evening, as it completely overwhelmed the Buffaloes the rest of the way – giving up a combined 29 points in sets two and three en route to yet another league postseason championship.
"Our team played very well at this tournament," head coach Brian Goodhind said. "Today, we played a very good Milligan team who have a lot of respect for. They are super-talented and are going to represent our AAC very well at the National Championship. Today was another match where our staff put together a great block and defensive scouting report against a solid offense that was rolling through the first two rounds. We had a hot start, and when the Buffs pushed back and dug into set one, our girls broke off the scouting report defensively. I was proud of their resilience and grit pulling out set one – we refocused then and put emphasis on where they were supposed to be according to our scouting report, and the girls executed extremely well in sets two and three.
This team is something special and I'm truly blessed to be the head coach of this program. To God goes all the Glory. #WePlayFor11."
After nearly hitting zero as a club in set one, the AAC's top team hit .387 and .290 in the two following stanzas, respectively. The Eagles also cut down their errors with eight combined in sets two and three after they accumulated nine miscues in the opening game.
Shelby Glawson was in on four defensive block assists.
The team now awaits the final NAIA Top 25 Poll, which comes out on Monday, along with its NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round opponent, which is revealed at 11 a.m. EDT the same day (Watch Live on Facebook).
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