KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The Union volleyball team saw its season come to an abrupt end Wednesday as No. 5 seed Virginia Intermont swept the fourth-seeded Lady Bulldogs 3-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament.
The Lady Cobras won 25-12, 25-22, 25-21 to improve to 22-9 on the year. Union finishes the season 17-17 overall.
The tournament is being held at the MeadowView Marriott Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
Although Union was the higher seed, the loss was not truly an upset. Union and Virginia Intermont along with Montreat (N.C.) and Milligan (Tenn.) all finished the regular season tied for second with identical 13-5 conference records. After figuring out all the tie-breakers, Montreat received the second seed, Milligan the third, Union the fourth and Virginia Intermont the fifth.
Senior Christa Hicks led Union with 10 kills with Caity Merritt following with seven and Paige Moore with six.
Virginia Intermont came out and dominated the opening set, leading by as much as 18-6. Union tried to rally, but the Lady Cobras held on for the 25-12 decision and the 1-0 match lead.
Play was much tighter in the second frame. Virginia Intermont led 22-19 when Union scored back-to-back points with Hicks delivering a kill to make it 22-21 Lady Cobras. However, Virginia Intermont scored three of the final four points for the 25-22 win and the 2-0 match lead.
In the third set, Union fell behind 17-10 midway through but rallied to make trail 21-20. Yet, that was as close as the Lady Bulldogs could get as the Lady Cobras reeled off the final four points to win the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
Brandi Blessing of Virginia Intermont showed why she was named the AAC Player of the Year as she recorded 24 kills and 13 digs. Ashleigh Manke followed with eight kills. Ashley Hooven registered 32 assists.
Senior Brooke Porter led Union with 14 digs as she ended her career with 1,229.