Lady Cats remain unbeaten in league play by sweeping Lady Hornets

By Rob Patrick

CONWAY — For years, the Conway Lady Wampus Cats, along with Fort Smith Southside and just a few others, have set the standard in volleyball in Arkansas in its highest classification.

And while this may not be a vintage year as far as domination goes, they’ve still gone unbeaten through the 7A-Central Conference to this point.

The Bryant Lady Hornets had hopes of punctuating their breakout season with a victory over the Lady Wampus Cats when they traveled to Conway on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

But it didn’t happen. Conway improved to 12-0 in league play and added the Lady Hornets to their list of teams swept in the conference this season with a 25-8, 25-19, 25-9 win.[more]

“They’re beatable this year,” stated Lady Hornets head coach Beth Solomon, “but I think our girls still have it in their heads. I don't think that's gotten through to them yet.

“I don’t know if that was the problem tonight or just that they weren’t ready to play,” she added. “But this was probably, by far, the worst we’ve play this season, both varsity and JV. Even when we played (Conway) at home, we played better than we did tonight.”

At Bryant, amidst a three-match losing streak, the Lady Hornets fell to Conway, 22-25, 13-25, 13-25.

Bryant is now 6-6 in league play. The Lady Hornets had entered Tuesday’s game tied for third place in the conference with two more to play, at Van Buren on Thursday, Oct. 15, and at North Little Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 20. They still have an inside track on reaching the Class 7A State Tournament.

Along with the varsity loss on Tuesday, the JV fell 11-25, 9-25.The Lady Cats pounded the ball in the varsity game.

The Lady Hornets had some difficulty trying to block the taller Cownay front line and struggled to dig up the big hits most of the night. In the second game, however, they showed they could hang with Conway. They were within 18-19 at one point and battled through a long volley before Conway added the 20th point and surged to the victory.

“We’ve done that a lot this season,” said Solomon. “We’ll play one game and look like one team and the next game we play we look totally like a different team. We still can’t figure out what that is, why all of a sudden we decide we’re ready to play one game and not the next. But we can’t afford to keep doing it and, obviously, we’re going to continue to try to get it fixed. We’ve got two more conference games and we need to come out of both of them with a win.

“Conway’s undefeated,” she acknowledged, “but it would’ve been nice to ruin their perfect season.”

Kayla Davidson had six kills, Brianna White three blocks and Kasey Baker and Jenna Bruick contributed seven digs each. Bruick and Peyton Thacker each had an ace along the way.

“It was an off-night for everybody,” Solomon said, “but I will say, our outside hitters, Taylor Shutt and Amber Cope, did a good job tonight. They’re two of our most consistent players.”

In the first game, Bryant was within 3-4 after a Davidson kill, then again at 4-5 after a wild Conway serve, then at 5-6 after a kill by Shutt. But none of those times could the Lady Hornets hold serve and, after the latter score, the Lady Cats scored five straight points to take command.

Cope produced the side-out with a kill but, again, the Lady Hornets couldn’t retain control and Conway blew the lead out to 22-6.

In the second game of the match, the Lady Cats pushed out to a 4-1 lead before the Lady Hornets took advantage of a hitting error and a serve-receive error by Conway to cut it to 3-4.

Conway built the lead to 10-5 before Davidson came through with a kill. A net violation returned control to Conway but another kill by Davidson trimmed the lead to 11-7. Cope and White contributed kills and Bruick served up her ace. When White and Jordan Armstrong combined to score off a block, the Lady Hornets had battled back to within 11-13.

The margin bounced between 2 and 3 points for awhile until Davidson’s kill that made it 17-19, followed by a hitting error by Conway that made it a one-point game with Bryant in service.

The long volley that followed was one of the most competitive moments of the match but Conway eventually got a hit down to break serve and start its late surge to take the game.

Bryant led briefly in the third game of the match. White provided a kill and scored off a block to make it 2-1 but a net violation cost them the lead and service and Conway took control of the game by building a 13-3 advantage. The Lady Cats expanded the margin later on the way to closing out the match.

Thacker had three kills in the JV game for Bryant, Bruick contributed seven digs and Jenifer Hubbard had four assists.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!