Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SPORTS >>Conway breaks down Panthers

Leader sportswriter

Visiting Conway dominated at the net against the Lady Panthers in Tuesday’s 7A-Central Conference matchup at the Panther gymnasium with a 3-0 sweep. Cabot (5-2, 1-2 conf.) did keep things close in the final two games after an easy Lady ’Cats’ win in game one.

In fact, the Lady Panthers appeared to have great momentum in the early stages of game two, rushing out to a 7-3 lead before Conway (8-3, 2-0 conf.) regrouped to come back and overtake the lead by the middle stages of the frame.

The hitting duo of Bridget Thomas and Chelsea Sublett gave the Lady Wampus Cats a dual threat, with Thomas’ precision hits finding holes all over the Cabot side of the floor, and Sublett’s hits simply overpowering blocks at the net by the Lady Panthers.

Junior hitter Torey Hendrix gave the Lady Panthers momentum at the start of game two with three early kills that helped Cabot take the lead, as starters Katie Mantione and Erika McCaghren rested on the bench. Mantione’s entry back into the match moments later resulted in another Cabot kill, forcing the Lady ’Cats to regroup facing a four-point deficit.

Three straight kills from Sublett took Conway from an 11-10 deficit to a 13-11 lead, and the Lady Wampus Cats would never trail again.

Conway got off to a blistering start in game one, taking a fast seven-point advantage that would hold up for the remainder of the frame. Thomas’ near-perfect placement caused problems for the Lady Panther defense, and helped Conway take a 25-17 win.

The Lady Panthers’ most aggressive play would come in the early going of the second game, with Hendrix leading the way at the net with assists from Cherie Barfield and Morgan Young.

The Lady Wampus Cats took over the lead by the mid-point of the game, but kills by Young and McCaghren evened things up at 14-14. Mantione kept Cabot in the game with a kill and a block, and another block by Ashton Seidl pulled the Lady Panthers to within one, 23-22. A Conway error made it 23 all, but the Lady ’Cats took the final two points to secure the win, taking a 2-0 advantage in the match.

Conway held the lead throughout the third and final game, but the Lady Panthers stayed within striking distance most of the way. Janell Reando had a strong performance for Cabot in game three with a pair of kills and an ace, along with two kills and a block for McCaghren.

The lead began to stretch for Conway in the ladder stages, but Cabot had one final rally in them before Thomas closed out the game for the Lady ’Cats with a trick pass and a tip for the final two points to take the win 25-23 and a 3-0 overall win.

The Lady Panthers rebounded for a conference win at Bryant on Thursday. The junior varsity started things off with a win in two games, 25-20 and 25-16 before the varsity team swept the Lady Hornets in straight games, 25-12, 25-22 and 25-14. Morgan Young and Torey Hendrix led the way for Cabot, with Young recording five kills on no errors and Hendrix grabbing 10 kills on one error.

“We’re still working on a lot of things,” Cabot coach Terry Williams said. “We did some good things Thursday that we really didn’t do against Conway Tuesday. We’re still open to improvement, but I think things have gone okay for us so far.”

Cabot will play in the Russellville invitational tournament this weekend. The Lady Panthers will share a pool with Alma, Vilonia and conference rival Mt. Saint Mary.