FORT SMITH — Like the proverbial baptism by fire, the Bryant Lady Hornets volleyball team with a rotation that includes one starter from the previous season, have had to learn on the go. And while doing so, they’ve had to take on a conference full of many of the best volleyball teams in the state.
Often, that means that the advances such a team makes are obscured by the final scores. Though it may not be evident to fans or even to the players themselves, the coaches see it. The goal is to make enough progress through the conference gauntlet that, by the end, it begins to produce victories.
The process continued on Tuesday night for the Lady Hornets who traveled to Fort Smith Northside where they absorbed an 11-25, 20-25, 16-25 setback.
“Tonight didn’t end with the win that we hoped for after the way we played Thursday against Conway,” said Bryant head coach Beth Solomon. “We did accomplish some good things but we just kind of seemed to be out of sync tonight. We definitely had a better showing than we did the last time we played Northside, but, like us, they have improved as well.
“Hopefully Thursday night against Mount will turn out differently for us,” she added.
The Lady Hornets host the Mount St. Mary Belles on Thursday in hopes of turning the tables after a four-set loss at the Academy on Sept. 6.
Freshman Lylah Washington came through with a team-high 11 kills against Northside’s Lady Bears. Raven Loveless added five, Brittney Warner four, Alex Dillard three and Riley Hill one.
Ashlyn Lee assisted 22 times.
Warner also had two blocks. Faith Stone and Loveless contributed a block apiece.
At the service line, the Lady Hornets were good on 87 percent of their serves. Lee was 10 for 10 and Loveless got in all six of hers without an error. Washington was 7 of 8 and produced the team’s only ace.
In the JV match, the Lady Hornets fell 16-25, 23-25.
Aly Bowers paced the team’s attack with six kills. Imanii Jones finished with five, Stone four, Kristin Boyle two and Lindsey Maxwell one. Maxwell led the team with seven assists.
Macey Loudon came through with three aces. She was 7 of 9 on her serves. Stone got in all seven of her serves while Maxwell and Madi Draper were 5 of 5. Jones had four serves without an error.
Loudon, Stone and Shannon Stewart each had three digs for Bryant. Boyle contributed a solo block.