KNOXVILLE, Tn- The Royals had their season come to an end this evening, as they suffered a straight set loss to Bob Jones in the second match between the two teams this weekend. While a straight set loss may indicate that the Royals were beaten badly, the final two sets were decided by a combined 6 points.
While the Royals season did not have the end they wanted, they did have an incredible season of success that they should hang their hat on with pride. In their first year as an NAIA member in the AAC conference the Royals registered 6 wins, including the first AAC win in program history. They also outperformed their preseason rankings from the AAC coaches poll.
In their final season of NCCAA play, the Royals had multiple All-Americans, multiple scholar athletes, legacy award winners, multiple first and second team all-mideast region team members, the Mideast Libero of the Year, and the Mideast/NCCAA Coach of the Year in Coach Vannoy. They also won the Mideast Regional Title and were the National Runner-Up.
So no, the Royals did not win the national championship this season, but young players got invaluable experience, and returners made their mark on this program for years to come. Coach Vannoy has been able to see growth in the team and achieve goals that weren't even on the program's radar multiple years ago.
While today may have ended with a hard loss, the season as a whole was one to be proud of for the Royals.