Saturday, October 30, 2010

SPORTS>>Lady Devils exit tourney

By Jason king
Leader sportswriter

BENTON — Jacksonville’s strong start did not hold up against the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks in the first round of the 6A state volleyball tournament Tuesday.

The Lady Red Devils led early in the first two games before the Lady ’Backs took control of the match to win 3-1 and move on to the second round.

Texarkana came from behind to beat Jacksonville 25-17 in the first game before Jacksonville senior Sierra Davis helped the Lady Red Devils establish the lead again in Game 2 with a string of three consecutive kills.

This time, they held on to the advantage with help from junior Haley Hickingbotham late to win 25-20.

The Lady Razorbacks picked it up for Game 3 and took a 25-13 victory before things fell apart for the Lady Red Devils (7-9) in the final game and Texarkana won 25-5.

“We’ve done a lot of things good,” Jacksonville coach Melissa Reeves said. “Of course, we’re not happy with that last game — we’re not sure what happened — but overall, with everything the kids have gone through, I’m very proud of them. I can’t say enough about them.

“I’m sad for the seniors, but I’m very proud. Our underclassmen, like we told them, this is a learning moment. We will be back, and we will compete next year.”

Defensive player Amanda Simmons gave the Lady Razorbacks (22-10) a boost at the service line in the final game on a string of serves that included three aces and took Texarkana from a 3-1 lead to 11-1 by the time Hickingbotham stepped up for a kill to end the run.

“We had way too sluggish of a start,” Texarkana coach Angela Moody said. “We needed that first game; it just takes us some time to work our nerves out. The older girls just started doing what they needed to — talking a little more lively, keeping the ball in play.”

Jonesboro eliminated Texarkana 3-0 in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.

Jacksonville controlled the tempo throughout Game 2. Davis blocked Texarkana’s Dulincia Keener to tie the game at 3-3.

The senior then scored three straight kills to give the Lady Red Devils a 6-3 lead.

Classmate Tyler Pickett chipped in with a kill to make it 8-6 and scored two aces later to extend the lead to 13-9.

Pickett also set up Hickingbotham with assists on a pair of kills, with a block from Hickingbotham in between to make it 16-12.

Katie Lawrence and Coyja Hood scored late kills to help Jacksonville secure the victory.

Jacksonville also led early in the third game, but Texarkana went on a 10-3 run midway through and held off a late stand at the net by Davis.

“What we had heard is that they compare to some of the teams in our conference,” Reeves said of Texarkana.

“So we prepared that way. We played three great games; we just shut down that fourth game. No excuses — Texarkana came ready to play.

“Once again, I’m proud of where we’ve come and how we finished.”

Despite Jacksonville’s loss, the 6A-East Conference showed its dominance in the first round.

Texarkana was the only 6A-South team to win its first-round game, while Lake Hamilton and Benton advanced on byes.

Lake Hamilton fell to Van Buren, a 7A/6A hybrid team listed as the East No. 4 seed.

Mountain Home defeated host Benton in five games Wednesday to set up the all-East semifinals that included East No. 1 seed Marion.