Conway White escapes with narrow win over Bryant freshmen girls

The Bryant Lady Hornets freshman volleyball team fought back to force a third game in their match against[more] the Conway White Lady Wampus Kittens on Thursday but couldn’t hang on to win the match.

The Lady Hornets fell 19-25, 25-20, 17-25 in the non-conference meeting between the two teams. They’ll play their conference match on Oct. 10.

With a 2-3 overall mark and 1-0 league slate, the Lady Hornets were set to host Mount St. Mary Academy on Monday in a conference contest then visit Benton for another league tilt on Thursday, Sept. 15. They’ll compete in a tournament at Conway on Saturday, Sept. 17.

“I’m proud of the girls,” said Lady Hornets coach Monica Parish. “They stepped up to the challenge. We are improving every time we play these good teams. It takes a good team to stay with a good team. I hope this proves to the girls that they are a good team and gives them some confidence going into next week’s schedule.”

In Thursday’s opening game, it was tied 3-3 when Conway White reeled off a 6-0 run to take command.

Bryant trailed 11-21 when Haley Dellis took over service for a five-point run that gave the Lady Hornets’ hope. Dellis’ ace got the run started. Along the way, Rylee Phillips set up Nikki Clay for a pair of kills.

Clay took over serving with the score 17-22. She had an ace to close the gap to 19-22 but that’s as close as they could get.

“We dug ourselves a hole and it was as deep as 10 at one point,” Parish noted. “When the girls started to defensively adjust then we had our comeback. This gave our girls confidence going into the secnd game.”

Still, the Lady Hornets trailed 5-9 early in the second game. The turnaround came at that point.

“Mercedes (Dillard) had a dig that went into the net,” Parish recounted. “Rylee dug it out of the next — just barely — and then Haley free-balled it over. Conway started celebrating the point while Rylee was still digging and they didn’t see Haley free-ball it over. So we got the point and broke their service. That gave us momentum.”

Dillard rotated into service and immediately followed up the play with a pair of aces to fuel to fire. A couple of Conway White errors extended it as Bryant edged ahead 10-9.

It was 12-11 when Dellis went on a service run including an ace. Bryant led 16-11 before the Lady Kittens broke serve and rallied to within 18-16.

Taylor Lindberg served to extend the margin to 20-16 but Conway again came back to within two at 22-20. But, with Dillard serving, Clay sent down a kill off a set from Lindberg then a pair of aces put the win in the books.

“Hustle plays and five aces,” Parish noted.

The momentum carried into the third game. Back-to-back aces by Dellis broke a 2-2 deadlock and, after an exchange of service breaks, Clay served as Bryant built a 9-3 edge. The run began with an extended rally.

“Nikki had a great dig that Taylor sent over for a kill,” Parish said.

Clay had an ace on point eight then Dillard contributed a kill off a set by Lindberg. Another kill by Dillard off a feed from Clay made it 11-7 a little later but that’s when Conway White made its move, rallying to tie.

Abby Staton served up an ace to get Bryant back up 13-11 but after the Lady Kittens broke serve, they went on another run that proved decisive.

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