Lady Hornets shine at tourney, finish as runner-up

RUSSELLVILLE — The Bryant Lady Hornets, with over 13 hours of volleyball, earned the runner-up plaque at the Volley In The Valley tournament at Russellville High School Saturday.

In pool play, they defeated Vilonia 25-15, 25-17; the North Little Rock JV 25-15, 25-22; Morrilton 25-16, 25-22; and Little Rock Central 25-16, 25-22.

They advanced to the championship tournament and beat Vilonia again 25-7, 25-18 then outlasted Waldron 25-21, 23-25, 15-7 before meeting Alma in the championship game. The final went down to the wire before the Lady Hornets fell 20-25, 26-24, 13-15.[more]

“The girls played great,” declared Bryant coach Beth Solomon. “I think that the light bulb came on this weekend. I hope this level of play continues.”

For the day, Sydney Manley was good on 48 of 57 serves with 14 aces. Maggie Hart was 75 of 76 with 12 aces.

At the net, Courtney Davidson was good on 84 of 93 attacks with 34 kills. Brianna White also had 34 kills going 70 of 88 on attacks. McKenzie Rice was 77 of 90 with 24 kills.Hannah Rice contributed eight solo blocks and assisted on six more. Hart and Davidson each had six blocks.

In addition, Hannah Rice had 94 assists with 277 good sets in 299 opportunities and Lauren Reed was good on 80 percent of her chances for digs (65 of 81).

“We really wanted to focus on being a smarter, more consistent team this weekend,” Solomon stated. “The girls played that way on Saturday. They played their hearts out. At the end of the day, I could honestly say that they played smart, putting the ball in places where the other team couldn’t get to it on many plays.

“They played the most consistent they ever have,” she added. “I can only remember a handful of long rallies that we didn’t win all day long.

“The girls showed themselves what they are capable of,” the coach mentioned. “They pushed through the hard times, through the exhaustion, and really showed what they can do.”

As a team, the Lady Hornets were good on 92 percent of their serves, had 28 solo blocks and 18 blocking assists. They were good on 88 percent of their attacks (381 of 435) with 136 kills off of 102 assists.

“During the championship match, we lost the first game and were down 17-23 in the second game,” Solomon recounted. “The girls pulled it out and won the second game. It was amazing. They ended up losing the third game 13-15, but not without a fight. The girls left every effort they had on the court.”

Bryant was set to return to 7A/6A-Central Conference play tonight at Van Buren then a trip to North Little Rock on Thursday. They trail Van Buren by a game in the league standings and are currently tied with North Little Rock at 2-3.

“We’re really hoping that we can continue this play through the rest of conference,” Solomon said. “We’ve got a long road trip to Van Buren, which is always hard on the girls.”

7A-Central Conf.

Conway 5-0

LR Mt. St. Mary 4-1

Van Buren 3-2

Russellville 3-2

North Little Rock 2-3

Bryant 2-3

Cabot 1-4

LR Central 0-5

Tuesday, Sept. 21

North Little Rock at Conway

Bryant at Van Buren

Mount St. Mary at Cabot

LR Central at Russellville

Thursday, Sept. 23

Van Buren at Cabot

Russellville at Mount St. Mary

Bryant at North Little Rock

Conway at LR Central

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