KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Second-seeded Union showed its tenacity and grit as it battled its way from a tough deficit to capture the 2010 Appalachian Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament championship with a 3-2 victory over No. 4 seed Milligan (Tenn.) on Friday.
The title is Union's second in a row, and the Lady Bulldogs will advance to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. The pairings will be announced either Sunday or Monday.
Union (25-12 overall) won the opening set by a slim 25-23 margin before Milligan rallied to take the next two sets by the scores of 25-20 and 25-18.
Things looked dark for Union in the fourth set as the Lady Buffaloes jumped out to an 8-1 lead. However, Union stormed back to win the frame 25-20 to even the match and force a fifth and decisive set.
The Lady Bulldogs appeared to be in control in the fifth game up by two much of the way. Yet, Milligan used a 5-1 surge to grab a 10-8 advantage, forcing Union to call a timeout.
Everything changed coming out of that timeout.
Union rallied to take the lead and cruised the rest of the way for the 15-11 decision and the 3-2 match victory.
Milligan ends the season with a 27-14 overall record.
Karina Ramos (Presidente, Brazil) hammered home 16 kills, recorded nine digs and had three solo blocks and two block assists in the championship match, earning her Tournament MVP honors. She finished the tournament with 57 kills and 13 service aces.
Joining Ramos on the All-Tournament team were Amanda Silva (Londrina, Brazil) and Monica Moreland (Louisville, Ky.). Silva had 30 digs in the title match, while Moreland served up 31 assists and nine digs.
Making up the rest of the All-Tournament team were Chelsea Spivey and Morgan Rutledge of Milligan; Allison Baumgartner and Hannah Scholz of Montreat (N.C.); and Alison Young and Ashley Hogsett (Sours) from Bryan (Tenn.).
In the semifinal match, Union needed four sets to move past top-seeded Montreat as the Lady Bulldogs posted the 25-17, 25-14, 22-25, 26-24 victory.
Maddie Peterson (Soda Springs, Idaho) came up huge with 14 kills, while Ramos added nine kills. Amelia Cantrell (Georgetown, Ky.) and Cat Neumann (Louisville, Ky.) each recorded nine kills with Silva and Brooke Porter (Louisville, Ky.) posting 23 and 14 digs, respectively.
Kalia Yasak (Kula, Hawaii) came through with 27 assists, and Moreland helped out with 18. Lindsey Ellis (Florence, Ky.) chipped in 12 digs.