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COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: Berry heading to NCAA tourney

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Berry Vikings

A big weekend for the Berry College volleyball team is leading into another one as the Vikings open the NCAA Division III tournament Thursday at Emory University.

Berry went undefeated in the Southern Athletic Association last weekend, culminating with the SAA title game Sunday against Birmingham-Southern, where Berry won in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19 and 25-15 to earn its first SAA tournament title since 2013.

The Vikings led the match in kills (48-39), assists (44-37) and blocks (11-4), while both teams finished with 48 digs. Four of Berry’s players finished with 10 digs, and four Vikings also added at least eight kills.

Hannah Kate Thompson was named the tournament MVP, and joins Hannah Billiard and Micayla Bedoian on the All-Tournament team.

Thursday is the start of the Atlanta Regional for the NCAA tournament and will see the Vikings take on Hanover College on Thursday at 3 p.m. and also features No. 7 Emory, Worcester State, No. 23 Christopher Newport, Thomas More, Birmingham-Southern and Covenant College.

If the Vikings advance to Friday they will face the winner of Birmingham-Southern and Covenant at 4:30 p.m. The Regional Championship match is set for Saturday at 7 p.m.

Berry (28-6) is currently the No. 2 blocking team in the nation, averaging 2.47 blocks per set as a team. Hanover (26-5) is the No. 3 blocking team in Division III at 2.24 blocks per set. The Panthers are currently 26-5 and ride a 15 match win streak into the tournament.