After fighting to tie the game at a set a piece, the No. 17 Lady Vikings were lost to Mary Hardin-Baylor 3-1. The set scores were 25-22, 15-25, 25-17, 28-26.
“It definitely hurts,” Berry head coach Caitlyn Moriarty said. “We’re at home. This is a position we’ve been in before. A lot of credit is due to Mary Hardin-Baylor. We knew they were a fantastic team offensively, and tonight they had a great floor defense too, so that puts a lot of pressure on us to execute perfectly. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we have a lot of things to be proud of this season.”
The Lady Vikings (26-4) stuck close with the Lady Crusaders in the final set and were nearly able to force a fifth. Berry and UMHB traded points back and forth with no team getting more than three points ahead before the Lady Vikings were able to pull away for a 24-20 lead.
The Lady Crusaders (28-4) then went on a 5-1 run to tie the score 25-25, and kills by Kayla Janikula and Corinne Novak sealed the victory for UMHB.
The Lady Vikings were chosen to host the regional tournament after also hosting the Southern Athletic Association tournament, which ended with them winning the conference tournament championship with a 3-0 victory against Birmingham-Southern.
“I thought we went out with a bang,” senior Micayla Bedoian said. “We fought our hearts out and really pulled together.”
Emily Hancock led the Lady Vikings with 18 kills, five assists and 13 digs, while Emily Rapach had 41 assists and nine digs, and Laura Beier recorded 30 digs. Carson VanCampen had eight kills and five blocks, Bedoian had eight kills and four blocks, and Christina Goforth had 13 digs.