VAN BUREN — The Bryant Lady Hornets’ long trip to Van Buren on Tuesday evening seemed a lot longer coming back after the Pointerettes swept three games to win the varsity match, 3-0. The Lady Hornets were close in the first two matches but couldn’t get the lead. It ended up 20-25, 24-26, 13-25.
In a JV match, Bryant won both games, 25-23, 25-20.
The varsity match was a substitute conference game. Since Pine Bluff doesn’t have a volleyball program, matches against two schools outside of the 7A/6A-South Conference were designated as substitutes. Van Buren was the first. The second will be Thursday against Rogers Heritage in Bryant’s home opener. At State Tournament time, the Lady Hornets will be seeded in the 7A/6A-West, which includes Van Buren and Heritage.
“We really needed a win to get in extra points for the point system that seeds us into the State Tournament,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Beth Solomon. “We have Thursday night with Rogers Heritage to try to get some additional points over a 7A school.”
Against Van Buren, the Lady Hornets managed just 21 kills as a team. Sophomore Allie Anderson had 13 of those. Nikki Clay added four. Anderson and Mercedes Dillard each had a block. Setter Britney Sahlmann compiled 18 assists.
Defensively, Whitney Brown came up with nine digs with Abby Staton and Clay adding six each.
“Something was off tonight,” commented Lady Hornets coach Beth Solomon regarding the Van Buren match. “The girls were not themselves, to say the least. We gave a less than stellar performance.
“After the game when we were talking with the girls one of the main things that we discussed was that this was not our game tonight,” she continued. “Not only did it seem like our hits were off, it really seemed as though we didn’t hit the ball very much at all. Not to discredit Van Buren; Coach Stephanie Hill has a great group of girls this year and they were prepared to hit at us. We just didn’t seem ready to play.”
Bryant was good on 88 percent of its serves but only managed two aces. Sahlmann was 14 of 15 on her serves with one of the aces. Shayla McKissock was good on 11 of 13 and Staton hit all nine of her serves with the other ace.
In the JV match, Madison Greeno served for seven aces and the Lady Hornets had 15 in all. She was good on 12 of 13 serves while Skylar Harper was 11 for 11 with three aces.
Dejai Kelley and Emily Henson each had three kills. Savannah Shelton picked up 11 assists.
“I thought our JV did a great job tonight,” Solomon said. “Skylar Harper had a great night and really helped us out with her serves. Overall, I thought our JV played the best game that they’ve played to date. They were moving well, communicating well, and completing plays together.”