Beaver Falls, PA - Never before has the environment been so electric for a Geneva College volleyball match at Metheny Fieldhouse. But never before has so much been at stake for the Golden Tornadoes as they entered the school′s first ever PAC title match against Bethany on Saturday afternoon. After dropping the first game of the match, Geneva came roaring back to take the next three games and claim the first ever Presidents′ Athletic Conference title in only the first year of eligibility. The victory pushed Geneva′s overall record to 27-8 which also set a new school record for wins in a single season surpassing the mark set just one year ago.
"Words can′t describe the feeling," said co-head coach Wendy Smith. "To watch this program grow over the years and watch these ladies develop into champions has been an incredible ride. What an amazing accomplishment for our program and for Geneva College. We are honored to be the first Geneva program to claim a conference title in the PAC."
The victory did not come easy as Bethany entered the championship match with 28 victories and had the distinction of handing Geneva its only conference loss of the year. The Bison defeated defending champion Thomas More on Friday night for the right to play for the title. A back and forth game one went the way of the Bison by the score of 25-23 to open what would surely be a tightly contested match. The Golden Tornadoes bounced back to take game two 25-22 to even the match at one game apiece.
Geneva took control of the match with a 25-17 victory in game three before closing out the Bison 25-22 in the final game. The Golden Tornadoes rallied from six points down in the final game and got the chance to celebrate a title when fittingly senior Brianna Mixter′s ace serve hit the floor on Bethany′s side of the court. "It was just such a fitting way to win a championship," said co-head coach Curt Conser. "This team has worked so hard all year and we have had incredible leadership from our two seniors. It was just a memorable moment to have both of those seniors play such a key role in this victory."
It was not only the seniors that were key as junior Kristland McCracken led the offensive charge with 21 kills as one of four Geneva players to reach double figures in kills for the match. Ashley Davis added 15 kills with Maggie Bowersox posting 13 and Rachel Kuegler finishing with ten. Sophomore setter Deanna Briody once again proved to be one of the best in the conference with an amazing 57 assists in a four-game match. Mixter added 25 digs with Briody posting 18 digs on defense. Geneva managed six service aces for the match with no bigger coming on championship point from Mixter.
The Golden Tornadoes will now await word from the NCAA as to where and when they will play next week in the first step of the NCAA national tournament field. Geneva will head to regional play next week to begin that process.
"We are so excited right now," said Smith. "This will continue to be an amazing experience for our program to move into regional play in NCAA Division III.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).