On a campus of fall champions in Searcy, Harding University's volleyball team is frantically waving hands to draw attention.
The Lady Bisons withstood a showcase performance from the league's Player of the Year for a 3-0 victory over Southeastern Oklahoma Thursday in the Great American Conference tournament at Bank OZK Arena.
Olivia Wiedower's service ace preceded her assist of Libby Smith-Morgan's kill on the final point of top seed Harding's 25-14, 25-17, 25-11 decision.
Though with no first-team GAC honorees, Harding rode on the shoulders of second-teamers Skyler McKinnon (10 kills, same as Smith-Morgan and Jacey Cole) and Emily Winiger (17 digs) in the third of four quarterfinals. The Lady Bisons (19-10, but 13-3 in regular-season conference matches) play Henderson State or Southern Arkansas at 5 p.m. today with the championship match at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Conference POY D'Nari Mills had 14 kills and 46 assists plus three digs for the Durant-based Savage Storm (12-18).
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On different fronts, neither Harding football team has lost this season, the high-school Wildcats playing Malvern tonight at home in the Class 4A second round and the GAC champions with a first-round bye Saturday and Nov. 25 home game in the NCAA Division 2 playoffs. Harding University draws the Central Missouri-Henderson State first-round winner in a 1 p.m. kickoff at First Security Stadium.
Back to volleyball, Ouachita Baptist, seeded seventh, went down meekly 25-18, 25-18, 25-12 against No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist.
Ouachita staggered with a .124 hitting percentage, led by Courtney Hanson at .429, while three opposing players managed .500 or better and the Shawnee team hit .369.
Jill Leslie had 11 kills for the winners, who had a 47-33 advantage. Lauren Safrit and Avery Hellmuth each added nine kills and two teammates had seven each for the winners. Hanson had a game-high 24 assists, Abrey Galt with 23 and Emily Boyer 16 for Oklahoma Baptist. Avery Jaliz totaled a game-high 13 digs for Ouachita.
Allison Frizzell-Kiser, formerly at Lakeside, is Ouachita's lead coach. The Lady Tigers finished 17-16.
Two Southwestern Oklahoma players had 20 digs each as the Weatherford/Sayre-based team eked out a 3-2 victory over sixth seed East Central (Ada).
Southwestern won the fifth game 15-13 after taking the fourth set 25-21.