Lady Hornets earn first win
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
After an unexpected 0-4 start, the Bryant Lady Hornets volleyball team earned its first win of the 1999 season Tuesday, 15-1, 15-10 over the Little Rock McClellan Lady Lions at the old girls gym on the BHS campus.
“We just hadn’t been working as a team,” stated Lady Hornets coach Joan Hunter of the disappointing start. “I think we have the best athletes as far as talent that we’ve had in awhile, but somehow they just haven’t been working together.
“(Monday) in our practice we started trying to figure out what we could do to work together and keeping everybody pumped up was one of the things,” Hunter added. “We have six seniors out there usually but no one person stands out as a leader. So, we tried to get each one of them to work on keeping each other going.
“We also had the people on the bench keep yelling and getting the spirit up because it has seemed like when we’d get a couple of points behind everybody just went, ‘Oh, gosh …’ So I told everybody they had to keep yelling. It didn’t matter if we were 15 points behind.
“You know, if you have people excited about it and wanting you to win, you’re more likely to win. It’s hard to play in a quiet gym.”
The Lady Hornets and their fans had plenty to holler about in both games. In the first, they dominated. In the second, they rallied from behind to earn the victory.
The match opened with Bryant reeling off the first seven points with Mandy Chivers serving. Four of Chivers’ serves went unreturned by the Lady Lions.
Mandy Steele picked up the first point with a kill off a nice set by Julie Ueberall. Later, Stephanie Kennedy spiked one to make it 4-0. Chivers picked up the sixth point with an ace.
McClellan finally broke serve and picked up a point but the Lady Hornets regained control with another kill by Kennedy.
After an exchange of service, the Lady Hornets took control with Ueberall in service, running off eight straight points without a break. Six points came on unreturned serves, two of those were aces. Tiffany Kennedy contributed a kill and Chivers kept a volley alive with a nice dig.
In the second game, McClellan gained the advantage early, building a 4-1 lead and, after Bryant rallied to within 5-4, upping the advantage to 8-4.
The Lady Hornets began their comeback with Kim Harris serving. They whittled a pair of points off the lead before going side-out.
With the score 8-6 neither team could hold control until Bryant added another point on a soft-touch kill by Tiffany Kennedy.
It was 9-7 when the Lady Hornets made their move to take the lead. Stephanie Kennedy was set up for a kill by Harris as the lead was cut to 1 then Nikki Turpin served up an ace to tie it at 9. Harris set for Tiffany Kennedy and Bryant had the lead for good even though McClellan managed a service break.
The Lady Lions were unable to hold serve and Bryant regained control with Stephanie Kennedy in service. Harris again got the assist on a kill by Jennifer Smith then Kennedy served an ace to make it 12-9.
McClellan made it 12-10 but, after a long volley, the Lady Hornets once again broke serve, preventing a Lady Lions run. Tiffany Kennedy served an ace but a net serve cost Bryant control only to have Chivers knock down a kill for a side-out, returning service to the Lady Hornets.
Harris then closed out the win with an ace and a second serve that McClellan returned out of bounds.
“Hopefully, this is what we needed to get us jump started,” Hunter said.
The Lady Hornets, who lost only one player from last year’s State Tournament team, were set to travel to Little Rock Parkview on Thursday in hopes of keeping their turnaround going.