Lady Hornets take first-place Belles to five sets in narrow defeat

The Mount St. Mary Academy Belles came into Bryant Thursday, trying desperately to hang onto a share of first place in the 6A-Central Conference. 

But Bryant’s Lady Hornets came oh-so-close to stunning them with a loss, fighting back from a 1-2 deficit with a win in the fourth set. The deciding game was tight. But the Belles escaped 15-13.

The final was 23-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-17, 13-15.

“I was hoping we would pull it out,” said Lady Hornets coach Leigh Ann Back. “The girls competed hard and as a team. It made a difference and I hope they finally realize their talent with three matches next week.”

Bryant plays at Benton on Monday in a non-conference rivalry match then returns to league play at Little Rock Central on Tuesday. The Lady Hornets host Little Rock Southwest on Thursday. With wins in those contests, it would set up a showdown at Cabot where they could start moving up the standings in advance of the Oct. 22-23 conference tournament.

Thursday’s battle with Mount gives the Lady Hornets hope of turning around a disappointing season so far.

“On Wednesday, they talked about how they were lucky to have this season and all they were doing was taking it for granted,” said Back of her players. “I guess they finally decided to be grateful.”

There was indeed a strong chance that the season would be wiped out due to the coronavirus.

Senior Ella Reynolds led the Lady Hornets with 11 kills. Madelyn Hoskins, also a senior, had six as did sophomore Camryn Martin. Senior Erin Key pitched in with five. Senior Sammie Jo Ferguson contributed three and sophomore Lily Settle two.

Ferguson had three blocks, Key two with Reynolds, Hoskins and Martin getting one each.

The Lady Hornets got 88.5 percent of their serves in. Shaylee Carver served up two aces. Reynolds, Ferguson, Lily Studdard and Alyssa Hernandez had one apiece.

Samantha Still led the team with 18 assists and 26 digs. Carver had 15 assists. Hernandez came up with 20 digs and Jaiyah Jackson 11.

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