LITTLE ROCK — The process of her young team’s development took a step back forward, according the Bryant Lady Hornets volleyball coach Beth Solomon after Saturday’s annual Little Rock Spikefest.
The Lady Hornets won one of three matches in pool play then lost in three sets to North Little Rock in tournament play but Solomon liked a lot of what she saw on the heels of a disappointing South Conference setback at Benton last Thursday.
“The girls played very well today,” she said. “I wish the outcome had been different for our girls but, overall, we played much better than we did Thursday night, which is what we were hoping to accomplish.
“We definitely discovered that we have a few things that we really need to work on, serve-receive and defense,” the coach related. “We’ve got games this week with Arkansas Baptist and J.A. Fair. We cannot take these team for granted and we will be working to be more consistent with our play against them.”
Bryant travels to Arkansas Baptist on Tuesday then hosts Fair in a conference match on Thursday.
The Lady Hornets opened in pool play at Little Rock Christian High School with a 15-25, 23-25 setback against Van Buren.
“This match was a key example of how inconsistent we are,” Solomon commented. “We had some great moments in the second game and even had a run and got up 4 points, only to turn around and have 6 defensive errors to lose the game.
“The good news is that our serves look really good,” she noted. “One thing that we’ve prided ourselves on is that we have strong, powerful serves that tend to be very hard to serve-receive.”
The team was good on 97.4 percent of their serves. Mercedes Dillard, Nikki Clay and Shayla McKissock each had an ace. Britney Sahlmann (9), Dillard (8) and Kendall Selig (7) got in all of their serves.
Allie Anderson had six kills in the match, Sierra Jones two. Britney Sahlmann had 13 assists and Clay led with three digs.
The Lady Hornets came back from that match to sweep two games from Central Arkansas Christian, 25-21, 25-9.
“We had a much better showing this game,” said Solomon. “After having some stumbles in the first game we were able to pull off a much better second game and avoid the drop in play we had during the first game. We had some great play off the bench as well.
“We did miss more serves this game, which is unacceptable,” she mentioned.
As a team, they were good on 89.4 percent of serves but Clay had four aces and only one error. McKissock had two aces.
Anderson came through with seven kills and a block. Jones and Selig each had four kills with Sahlmann supplying 12 assists. Whitney Brown led the team with four digs. Clay had three.
Bryant engaged in a long battle with Little Rock Christian in the first game of their match before the host team extracted a 30-29 win then closed out the match, 25-21, in the second game.
Jones stepped up with eight kills to go with six from Anderson. Sahlmann recorded 16 assists. Selig contributed two blocks to go with two kills.
McKissock had two aces. She, Abby Staton and Clay were good on six serves each. Sahlmann got in 12 of 13 and Dillard 9 of 10 but, as a team, the Lady Hornets were 88 percent.
“Our girls fought very hard,” Solomon said of the match. “The points were back and forth most of the first game. In the second game, we were up by seven points then did our rollercoaster form of play, let down and lost the second game.”
The loss put the Lady Hornets in the Silver (consolation) bracket for the tournament against North Little Rock. They started well against the Lady Charging Wildcats, winning 25-23. But North Little Rock came back to win the match, 25-15, 15-8.
Anderson had nine kills, Selig and Jones five each, Dillard three. Sahlmann finished with 15 assists and seven digs. McKissock had six digs and Brown four.
Sahlmann was good on 13 of 14 serves. Staton, who got all seven of her serves in, led the team with two aces. Selig was 8 for 8.