GREENWOOD — In a battle of the last two unbeaten teams in the 7A/6A-Central Conference on Tuesday night, the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs gained the early upper hand in the race for a league championship by handing the Bryant Lady Hornets an 18-25, 23-25, 18-25 defeat.
It was just the second loss for the Lady Hornets in nine matches this season.
In junior varsity action, Bryant narrowly prevailed 25-23, 25-21.
“Tonight was not a great night for our varsity group,” said Lady Hornets head coach Beth Solomon. “We definitely did not go to play the way that we were hoping we would.
“Going into the game, we knew we were the only two teams left that were undefeated,” she noted, “and it was like we just didn’t have that drive there to push us, to make us work hard tonight.”
“We had some good moments,” the coach related. “Alex Dillard’s block was on fire. She just got in this mindset that nothing was coming across the net and every ball they hit, she was putting back on the floor. Allie Anderson had some good kills. We just weren’t together as a group on the floor tonight and it definitely showed.”
Dillard finished with two solo blocks and two kills. Anderson had 16 kills and two solo blocks.
Raven Loveless had five kills, Kendall Selig and Brittney Warner two each. Britney Sahlmann had 22 assists.
The Lady Hornets were good on 55 of their 60 serves with four aces. Savannah Shelton had two aces. Anderson and Kaci Squires each had one. Anderson was good on all nine her serves as was Whitney Brown. Squires got in all eight of hers.
Sahlmann led the team with 12 digs. Brown had 10. Shelton and Squires finished with eight apiece, Shayla McKissock six.
“One of our favorite quotes is, ‘You don’t lose ballgames. You either win or you learn from them,’” Solomon related. “And we definitely learned a lot tonight.
Though the match had conference title ramifications, it has no impact on the Lady Hornets’ bid to qualify for the State Tournament. They are 3-1 in conference but haven’t played a 7A team. That’ll start this Thursday at Mount St. Mary Academy and continue next week with matches against Van Buren and Conway.
“We’re going to regroup for tomorrow, get ready for some of those tipped balls and off-speed balls that (Greenwood) was beating us with tonight because Mount’s sure going to be tipping,” Solomon said. “That’s kind of how they play. It should be a good game.”
On Saturday, the Lady Hornets are scheduled to play in a tournament at Russellville.
In Tuesday’s JV match, five different Bryant players had kills led by Shaelyn Smith’s five. Sarah Kennedy and Reagan Blend added four each. Riley Hill and Ashlyn Lee had three apiece.
Lee also came up with 13 assists. Blend led with seven digs. Kasey Ward had three. At the service line, Blend led the team with four aces getting in all 11 of her serves. Kennedy was 11 of 13 with an ace. Kyla Baker had an ace. She and Lee were good on seven serves apiece.
Hill contributed two solo blocks and a block assist. Jad’n Nichols had a solo block and a block assist. Kennedy assisted on three.