News & Stories
January 25, 2022

Go Vikings!


Impressive firsts in volleyball and men’s cross country highlighted Berry’s return to fall competition after last year’s spring pivot for all sports due to COVID-19.

The volleyball team won its first NCAA Division III regional championship and advanced to the national quarterfinals after claiming Southern Athletic Association regular-season and tournament crowns. Men’s cross country, meanwhile, won its first conference title since the SAA’s founding and Berry’s move to Division III.

Fittingly, the volleyball regional was won on the home court of longtime nemesis Emory University, site of previous postseason heartbreak for the program. This time, the Vikings would not be denied, sweeping Emory in the regional final after defeating Transylvania University and Southwestern University in the first two rounds.

That victory propelled Berry to the national quarterfinals in St. Louis, where a four-set loss to California’s Claremont-Mudd-Scripps ended the Vikings’ season at 28-3. Their final winning percentage of .903 and No. 7 national ranking are the highest in Berry volleyball’s storied history.

Individual honors for the team were numerous, including conference and region Coach of the Year accolades for Caitlyn Moriarty (14G). Top performers on the court included Laura Beier, Region Player of the Year, Region Tournament MVP and SAA Defensive Player of the Year; Emily Rapach, SAA Player of the Year; Cypress Guenther, SAA Newcomer of the Year; and Jazzy Innis, SAA Tournament MVP.

In addition, five Vikings earned All-America recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association: Beier and Molly Bergin (both first-team honorees), Rapach (second team), Innis (third team) and Peyton Breissinger (honorable mention).

“This is a team that loves to work hard and, at the same time, loves each other,” Moriarty praised. “And that is a good recipe.”

In men’s cross country, Berry edged Oglethorpe University by three points for its first SAA title in that sport. Bradshaw Lathbury (1641 in photo) and Cameron Bensley (1626) led the way, placing first and third individually in the conference championship race. Strong performances in the NCAA Division III South Region followed, propelling both runners to the national meet in Louisville, Ky., the first time the program has had two representatives in the NCAA final.


Bensley finished the 8K course in just over 25 minutes, placing him 140th in the field of nearly 300 runners. Lathbury finished 198th with a time of 25:30.

Longtime Berry fixture and former Viking All-American Paul Deaton (91C) earned SAA Coach of the Year honors in recognition of his team’s success, which builds on a long tradition of excellence in the NAIA.

The fall season also produced winning marks in football (6-4), women’s soccer (11-6) and men’s soccer (9-5-2). All three teams 
posted top-four regular-season finishes in the SAA, with women’s soccer repeating that feat in the conference tournament.
Other notable achievements included a tournament victory for men’s golf in the Transylvania Men’s Fall Festival, a record round of 68 shot by women’s golfer Bailey Plourde during the Chick-fil-A Collegiate Invitational, and a strong fall showing for Berry’s hunt seat and western equestrian teams.



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