ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – The top-seeded and No. 24 nationally-ranked Wingate Bulldogs topped the third-seeded Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters 3-1 (25-17, 39-41, 25-11, 25-16) to earn their 13th SAC tournament title and 11th since 2006.
Tournament most valuable player, Phoebe Havenaar of Wingate, collected a match-high 17 kills on a .333 hitting percentage. Fellow All-Tournament teammate and reigning SAC Player of the Year Rachel Alles dished out an astounding 57 assists. Libero Kori Adams scooped up an impressive 23 digs. Four Bulldogs finished with double-digit kills and five added double-figure digs.
Wingate finished with 73 kills on the afternoon, which is third most in a four-set match in Division II this season. The Bulldogs' 69 assists is tied for third.
The Railplitters took the second set from the Bulldogs 41-39. Lincoln Memorial's 41 points broke the NCAA Division II points in a single set record in the 25-point format (2008-present). The Railsplitters also have set the 2018 season's blocks in a four-set match record with their 23 total blocks. Tone Gill led the team in kills (12) and total blocks (8). All-Tournament honoree and recently-announced Elite 20 winner, Erica Whiteaker, finished with a match-high 26 digs.
With the win, Wingate earns an Automatic Qualifier to the NCAA southeast regionals, reaching the postseason for the 14th consecutive year. Preliminary first round of 2018 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship will begin on Thursday at campus sites. The remaining teams will await their postseason fate. Selections for the 2018 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship will be announced at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, November 11 via web stream on NCAA.com.
SAC All-Tournament Team
Erin Edwards, Carson-Newman
Emily Conlin, Anderson
Rylee Storms, Lincoln Memorial
Erica Whiteaker, Lincoln Memorial
Rachel Alles, Wingate
Kori Adams, Wingate
Phoebe Havenaar, Wingate (MVP)