KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Top-seeded Union College made it a clean sweep as it took down No. 3 seed St. Andrews (N.C.) 3-0 to capture the 2016 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament championship on Saturday.
"I loved the effort and the great energy we played with all weekend," said Union coach Jeremy Wise. "We wanted a three-peat at the tournament, so I am really happy to see the team accomplished this goal."
This was Union's third consecutive AAC Tournament championship and fifth overall.
The tournament has being held at the MeadowView Marriott Convention Center & Conference Resort in Kingsport, Tenn.
For the tournament, Union did not drop a single set as it swept all three of its opponents. The latest victim, St. Andrews, went down 25-19, 25-13, 25-17.
Rachel Andrews (JR/Louisville, Ky. ) led the Bulldog attack with nine kills with Marissa Elam (JR/Muncie, Ind.) following with seven. Paulina Hileman (JR/Johnstown, Colo.) registered a match-high 16 digs to go along with two service aces.
The trio each earned a spot on the AAC All-Tournament Team with Elam collecting Tournament MVP honors. Elam posted a tournament best 0.357 hitting percentage with 28 kills and eight errors in 56 attempts. Andrews was close behind at 0.353 as she notched 34 kills with 10 errors in 68 attempts. Hileman logged 54 digs for a 6.0 dig-per-set average for the three-day event.
In the opening set, Union trailed 12-9 before using an 11-2 run to grab a 20-14 advantage. The Bulldogs opened up a 24-17 lead before locking up the 25-19 set win.
Union dominated the second frame, leading by as much as 14 en route to the 25-13 decision.
In the third set, Union led from wire-to-wire. St. Andrews put together a quick surge to pull within 21-17, but Union scored the final four points to lock up the 25-17 set win and 3-0 match victory for the tournament championship.
Union will now wait to see who and where it will play in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The match will be played on Saturday, Nov. 19, with the bracket being announced Monday by the NAIA.