KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Junior Rachel Andrews (JR/Louisville, Ky. ) collected her 1,000th career kill in helping lead top-seeded Union College open the 2016 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Volleyball Tournament with a 3-0 sweep of No. 8 Reinhardt (Ga.) on Thursday.
The tournament is being held at the MeadowView Marriott Convention Center & Conference Resort in Kingsport, Tenn.
Andrews entered the match needing only three kills to hit the milestone, and she racked up 12 in the 25-11, 25-16, 25-17 victory. She now has 1,009 for her career.
Marissa Elam (JR/Muncie, Ind.), who hit the 1,000-kill mark in the final match of the regular season, paced the Bulldogs with 13 kills as the team posted a 0.333 hitting percentage with 50 kills and 14 errors in 108 attacks.
"I loved the execution and focus today, and we came out swinging and on fire offensively," said Union coach Jeremy Wise. "We were able to use all our players and get our subs some valuable experience playing in the conference tournament."
Union dominated play in the opening set, easily building an 18-8 lead. The Bulldogs went on to post a 25-11 set win as they closed the frame on a 5-0 run with Jenna Nelson (JR/Florence, Ky. ) hammering home two kills to end the set.
Down 7-6 in set two, Union used an 8-2 surge to claim a 14-9 advantage. Reinhardt pulled within 16-13, but Union accounted for nine of the final 12 points of the set for the 25-16 decision in taking a 2-0 match lead.
The Bulldogs opened up a 10-2 lead in the third frame, but the Lady Eagles (9-20 overall) rallied to cut the margin to 12-9. Play went back-and-forth with Union up 20-16. The Bulldogs finished the frame off on a 5-1 run to win 25-17 and complete the sweep.
The win is Union's 30th on the year as it improves to 30-9 overall. This is only the third time in program history the Bulldogs have won 30 in a season. The last time came in 2014 as Union finished 30-10.
Julia Edmonds (SR/Burlington, Ky.) notched six kills and four total blocks, while Elle Barnett (JR/Lexington, Ky.) and Nelson finished with seven and six kills, respectively. Carson Gray (SO/Alexandria, Ky.) and Ivana Kazic (SR/Belgrade, Serbia) registered 18 and 17 assists, while Paulina Hileman (JR/Johnstown, Colo.) recorded 17 digs.
Union advances to the semifinal round to face No. 5 Tennessee Wesleyan at 1 p.m. Friday.