ROME, Ga. — The Berry College volleyball team heads to Birmingham on Friday with an opportunity to claim the program's third straight Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tournament championship. CHAMPIONSHIP SITE | BRACKET
The Vikings enter as the No. 9 team in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 and represent the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Berry faces No. 7 Rhodes in the opening round on Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Vikings swept Rhodes in both matchups this season.
Birmingham-Southern looms on the other side of the bracket after claiming their first SAA regular season championship, earning hosting duties. Berry boasts a 23-5 overall record this season with a 12-2 conference mark.
The combination of senior middle blocker Carson VanCampen, senior setter Jordan Leitch, senior outside hitter Emily Hancock and sophomore libero Laura Beier peppers the SAA statsitical charts. VanCampen built upon a dominant junior season that earned a first-team AVCA All-America nod. She leads the SAA with a .344 hitting percentage and is top-five in kills per set (2.92), total kills (307) and blocks per set (1.17). Leitch took over as the team's primary setter midway through the season and rocketed to the top spot in the SAA, leading the league with 10.09 assists per set.
Hancock, after winning the SAA Player of the Year honor last season, has 14 matches this season with double-digit kills and ranks inside the top-five with 292 total. Beier, the reigning SAA Defensive Player of the Year from her freshman campaign, should be heavily favored for her second straight award heading into the conference tournament. She leads the SAA with 5.80 digs per set and 609 total digs, both career highs. She claimed the league's top defensive honor last season with a 5.77 digs per set and 600 dig total. She is 57 digs short of the team's DIII era single-season record, held by Katie Truluck.
Full tournament information is available on the BSC Championship Site. BSC will not be providing complimentary tickets or a pass list. Students, faculty, or staff from SAA institutions are free with school ID. General admission is $5 for adults, $3 for non-SAA college students and free for children two-years-old or under.