Photos by Kevin Nagle
When things are going well for their team, a coach is often loath to change anything. But, on Thursday, Bryant Lady Hornets head volleyball coach Beth Solomon okayed her players’ request to switch benches, from the usual north end of the Bryant gym to the south end.
“I didn’t really know how they’d handle that, just changing something,” she related after her team’s 7A/6A-Central Conference clash with the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers. “But they handled it with flying colors.”
Indeed, the Lady Hornets, who improved to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in league play, eased to a straight set victory, 25-9, 25-9, 25-14, with reserves playing a lot in the final game.
“We started off on fire,” Solomon related. “One of our goals was to not be satisfied. We’ve had some trouble in the past with playing a team and winning the first game and then the second game we just kind of have to battle because we let ourselves play down and not play as hard as we should. So our goal tonight was to not do that.
“After winning the first game 25-9, to come out in the second game and be ready to play and not let the score get close, and the girls were successful at that,” she continued. “Of course, after set two, we talked about it again. And the girls stayed very positive.”
The coach lauded the play of senior Kendall Selig who finished with six kills, 7 of 8 good serves and two digs.
“She was extremely smart, got a lot of really good kills on really well-placed balls,” Solomon said. “As a team, they all played very well and very smart together but Kendall kind of stood out for me tonight.”
Allie Anderson continued to dominate at the net with 24 kills. She also had five aces at the service line, getting in 12 of her 14 serves. She contributed five digs on defense and a solo block.
Britney Sahlmann also filled up the stat sheet with three kills, 28 assists, two service aces, three digs and a solo block. She was good on 17 of her 19 serves.
Raven Loveless had four kills, Alex Dillard and Brittney Warner one apiece. Savannah Shelton and Whitney Brown served for an ace each. Brown led with eight digs.
The victory set up a tough week of competition. On Tuesday, they travel to play a tough Russellville team. On Thursday, they host Greenwood, which has accounted for one of Bryant’s four losses.
“We play Russellville in their new arena,” Solomon noted. “From here on out, we’ve got some pretty hard games. We’re going to have to step up and play and be ready to roll. The girls are ready. We’re going to work hard.
“We beat them the first time through the conference at home,” she said of Russellville. “We took care of them in four. Then we played them in their tournament and beat them in three. We’re going to strive to take care of that Tuesday night. On Thursday, we definitely have some redemption coming,” the coach added. “We need to get that loss back. It should be a really good game.”