By James Vallone
FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. -- Thanks to a straight set victory over Southern Wesleyan, the Lady Hawks advanced to the NCCAA National Tournament.
Shorter (24-5) advanced over the former rival from the NAIA days within the Southern States Athletic Conference thanks to outhitting their opponent .258 to .022; winning the sets 25-16, 25-12, 25-21.
The first set was tied at 14, when Leslie Welch recorded the kill that sent the Lady Hawks on a roll to record 11 of the next 13 points to claim the set.
Shorter dominated the second set, never tailing en route to the 25-12 set victory, setting up the third set.
The third set saw Southern Wesleyan lead 18-16, before Anna Graham recorded back-to-back kills to tie the set and spark the rally that claimed the match. The Lady Hawks hit a match high .538 in the deciding set.
"We played really well to beat a good team," said coach Jon Moseley, "We are proud of the effort and happy for the girls to be able to advance to the national tournament."
Jasmine Crook recorded a match high 15 kills, including the match winner, while hitting .355. Graham had 10 kills, including hitting .389.
Four of the eight aces were served by Christina Johnson, while she added three kills and two digs.
Tanequa Whitman led the Lady Hawks with 13 digs while pitching in three kills.
After the match was over, the NCCAA announced several regional and tournament superlatives in which Shorter was well represented.
The 2012 Second Team All-Region saw Olive named as Outside Hitter and Graham take the honors for Middle Blocker.
The 2012 First Team All-Region had four Lady Hawks; Whitman was named at Libero, Welch was honored with Middle Blocker, Crook took the title of Outside Hitter, and Corder was named as Setter.
Three members of the Lady Hawks were named to the All-Tournament team; Corder, Crook, and Welch received these honors.
Rounding out the awards was Moseley being named as NCCAA South Region Coach of the Year; and Corder being named NCCAA South Region Player of the Year.
"I am excited for the girls," said Moseley, "to receive recognition for how well they played this year."
The NCCAA National Volleyball Championship is scheduled to take place November 29 – December 1 in Kissimmee, Fla. at the Kissimmee Civic Center, hosted by Southeastern University.