CONWAY, Ark.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team dropped a 3-1 match to Hendrix Sunday afternoon in the title match of the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Volleyball Championship, hosted by the top-seeded Warriors in Conway, Ark.
The third-seeded Panthers fell to 24-11, while top-seeded Hendrix moved to 30-5 and will earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
BSC won the first set, a back-and-forth affair with six ties. Although the Warriors held a small lead for most of the set, the Panthers repeatedly battled back, finally taking the lead at the 23-22 mark before putting the Warriors away on a kill from senior Katie O'Bar and a service ace from freshman Rachel Lee, 25-23.
In the second set, the Panthers led 10-7 before Hendrix used a 14-3 run to pull ahead 21-13. Although BSC responded with five straight points to cut it back to 21-18, the Warriors held on to win 25-20. The third set was close as well, with BSC holding a small lead much of the way before the score was tied 23-23 and Hendrix put away the final two points to win 25-23 and pull ahead 2-1 in the match.
In the fourth and final set, the Warriors slowly expanded their lead after a close start, eventually winning 25-17 to clinch the conference title.
Sophomore Lynsie Byrd led with 13 kills and recorded her 18th double-double of the season with 11 digs. Sophomore Laura Van Peursem also had 11 kills, tying her season high, and junior Katie McCormack had a match-high 39 assists and led the team with four blocks. Junior libero Lauren Bedford added a team-high 17 digs.
O'Bar and McCormack were named to the All-Tournament Team.