CONWAY — The Bryant Lady Hornets knew when the season started they’d be making two[more] trips to Conway. And they hoped to make three. First there was a tournament, which was held on Saturday, Oct. 8. Next comes the 7A/6A-Central Conference game between them on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
The third trip will be for the State Tournament the week of Oct. 25. And, with a 10-3 overall record including 9-2 in league play, trip number three has become a reality.
That will be the most important of the three trips followed closely by Tuesday’s match in which the Lady Hornets will be seeking to pin the first conference loss of the season on the Lady Wampus Cats while further securing their second place standing and keeping hope alive for at least a share of a conference championship.
The least important trip to Conway was Saturday for the tournament. With Tuesday’s showdown looming, the Lady Hornets didn’t figure to have as much emotion, focus and intensity as they’ll no doubt conjure up for the second and third visits.
Nonetheless, the Lady Hornets won two of their three pool play games and scored enough points to get a bid to the Gold Division single-elimination tournament. There, however, they ran into a potential State tourney foe in Fort Smith Southside and lost to end their day.
“We really couldn’t get going all day long,” said Lady Hornets coach Beth Solomon. “There’s not much to say. We just couldn’t put things together. If our passes were on, it seemed like our hits were off, and vice-versa. It was not a good day for us. It seemed as if the girls knew it wasn’t conference play and they played like it didn’t matter what happened.”
Bryant opened pool play by dispatching Little Rock Christian, 25-16, 25-24. They then lost to Marion, a top team in Class 6A, 21-25, 19-25 before closing out with a 25-16, 25-5 romp over Arkadelphia. Southside prevailed over the Lady Hornets, 25-11, 25-21.
“The outcome was not as we had hoped,” Solomon reiterated.
In the win over Little Rock Christian, Brianna White led with six kills. McKenzie Rice had five and both Brooke Howell and Alyssa Anderson finished with four. White also had two solo blocks.
Hannah Rice produced 17 assists to go with 11 digs and eight of 10 good serves with an ace. Anderson was 13 for 13 on serves with an ace. Lauren Reed came through with 15 digs. Taylor West had nine.
Against Marion, White finished with 10 kills and two solo blocks. McKenzie Rice added seven kills to go with an 8 for 8 performance in service. Anderson continued her stellar efficiency while serving going 12 for 12. Though the lone aces were turned in by West and Hannah Rice.
West led the team with 11 digs and Hannah Rice finished with 19 assists.
McKenzie Rice’s nine kills paced the Lady Hornets against Arkadelphia, Anderson had four. To go with 10 assists, Hannah Rice was good on 11 of 12 serves with three aces. Anderson and McKenzie Rice were both good on 9 of 9 at the service line. Both also contributed three aces.
Against Southside, Anderson made her first error of the day while serving. Still, she was 6 of 7 with another ace. Hannah Rice had eight good serves in nine opportunities. Brooke Howell had the only other ace, however.
Hannah Rice was also good on 50 of 51 sets but only managed 10 assists. West was good on 16 of 18 serve-receives.
Now, for Conway trip number two when the Lady Hornets will try to avenge their last non-tournament loss, a 25-20, 14-25, 22-25, 13-25 setback on Sept. 15.
“The girls will be ready,” Solomon asserted. “We just needed to get this out of our systems so we can continue our good streak in conference play.”