Photos by Rick Nation
BENTON — It had been a struggle lately for the Bryant Lady Hornets freshman volleyball team to find a way to close out wins in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play. But, on Thursday night at Panthers Arena, they put together a breakthrough win after dropping the first game, knocking off Benton’s Junior Lady Panthers, 18-25, 25-17, 15-8.
Reagan Blend came through with 10 kills while Sarah Kennedy, Kasey Ward and Alex Dillard each served up a pair of aces in the victory. Dillard, Shaelyn Smith and Riley Hill each had three kills with Dillard leading the team with nine digs.
“It finally just all came together,” stated Lady Hornets coach Julie Long. “Our front row was on, our back row was on, our serving was on and we finally finished. That was the big thing.
“At the end of the second game, I could tell,” she added. “They were wanting to win. They had it in their eyes. It was the first time we’ve been able to finish and that was huge.”
Long indicated that the win over one of the top teams in the league showed her players what they are capable of.
“It gives the girls a lot of confidence,” the coach noted. “It’s good that it happened early in conference so maybe we can push pass that barrier. We’re so excited. It’s a huge win for us.
“I tried to emphasize with them to not let this be the highlight of their season,” Long said. “Let’s just keep getting better. I said it could be their favorite memory of the season but I didn’t want it to be their highlight of the season. Hopefully they’ll keep pushing and getting better and getting consistent like that.”
The Lady Hornets will return to action on Monday, Sept. 23, at home against North Little Rock.