Saturday, September 22, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Hillside ladies sweep NP, JHS


Leader sports staff

With playoff berths and seeds on the line, the Sylvan Hills volleyball team came up with a crucial pair of wins this week against North Pulaski and Jacksonville.

It went from complete domination to complete letdown for North Pulaski on Tuesday as Sylvan Hills rallied back from a two-game deficit to pull off a miraculous 3-2 comeback victory over the Lady Falcons at the SHHS gymnasium in a 5A Central Conference grudge match.

The Lady Bears (7-5, 5-2) struggled to simply get the ball back across the net in a dominant game-one performance by North Pulaski. The Lady Falcons (5-4, 4-3) carried that early momentum into the second game, but Sylvan Hills rallied back in the third game. Things got worse for North Pulaski in game four as communication on the court and the early serving consistency went away, and by the time the fifth game rolled around, it was the Lady Bears who stood dominant under the leadership of dynamic senior Val Jarrett.

North Pulaski won the first two games 25-5, 25-17 before the Lady Bears claimed the last three 25-14, 25-19, 15-5.

“They had us more than on the ropes – they had us buried,” Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway said. “We didn’t come out ready to play. I don’t know what happened, I don’t know why, and they hit the ball extremely hard. We couldn’t pass for anything.

“You could see that the momentum had really shifted. We had a lot going for us – they had trouble passing the ball, there was a little bit of argument amongst the players and everything, so I told them if we could get a good start, we had a pretty good chance.”

The Lady Falcons showed up with a serve game second to none as standout setter Emily Long stroked Sylvan Hills with 21 straight points behind the line, including seven aces in game one. Sylvan Hills won the first two points in the game, but Long’s reign at the serve line took it to 21-2, and she finished off the set with a pair of kills.

Long paired up with senior Shelby Floyd in the second game, as the Lady Falcons broke an 11-11 tie with a 10-2 run. Long then assisted Megan Chargualaf and Shayla Evans for kills to give the Lady Falcons game point at 24-17, and Chargualaf finished it off with an ace.

The Lady Falcons played hard and executed well in the first two games, but once Sylvan Hills found momentum, the Falcons came undone despite a nice-sized fan section urging them to pick it back up. Head coach Ben Belton also sent plenty of encouragement their way, and began calling frequent time outs in game four in an attempt to rally his team. Belton was candid and honest in his remarks following the match.

“I don’t know – somebody tell me,” Belton said. “You don’t serve the ball well, you don’t play at the net very well, and then with everything else that ends up going wrong, you get beat. Serving was terrible. First set, we dominated them. We’re that much better than they are – I don’t care what the score was when it was said and done – I feel like we’re a lot better team than they are.

“Give them credit. They fought, they deserve to win. They won, and that’s the end of that.”

Unforced errors helped the Lady Bears in the third game as much as anything, but Jarrett and junior hitter Michelle Sorensen started taking over at the net in the fourth game. Jarrett put down her third kill of the frame to give Sylvan Hills a 20-13 lead while Sorensen scored a pair of aces before spiking it for a 24-17 lead. Jarrett then put an exclamation point on the game with a kill at game point.

Jarrett took over at the service line to start the decisive fifth game with four straight aces and eight points.

“She’s capable of serving,” Treadway said of Jarrett. “And we needed every serve that she did. She’s capable of putting it in the lobby. She’s capable of putting it in the net, tonight, she put it where she had to.”

Jarrett led the Lady Bears with six kills and five aces while sophomore Brooke Rainey added six kills. Junior Ashton Williams had four kills and two aces for Sylvan Hills.

Long led the way for North Pulaski with 10 aces and seven kills to go along with 13 assists. Floyd had nine kills and three aces while Chargualaf added six kills and four aces.


The Lady Bears kept the momentum going with a 3-1 win at Jacksonville (4-6, 3-4) on Thursday. Sylvan Hills won game one 25-21, but dropped game two 19-25 after building an 8-2 lead. Lady Red Devil sophomore Chanell Roy served up six straight points to give Jacksonville a 10-9 lead it would not relinquish.

The Lady Red Devils fell apart in game three. Jacksonville coach Kendra Sauheaver called timeout with Sylvan Hills leading 16-7. At that point, the home team had scored just one point on serve. The Lady Bears’ biggest lead was 18-7 before Jacksonville rallied to make the final score more respectable.

Game four was an anomaly of volleyball. The Lady Bears threatened to run away and win in a rout when they jumped out to a 7-1 lead. But Jacksonville scored 13 of the next 14 points, turning a 7-1 deficit into a 14-8 lead for the home team. Roy again served six straight points to tie the game before Jacksonville was called for lifting.

After quickly regaining serve, Senior Katie Lawrence scored six more to give the Lady Red Devils their biggest lead. Treadway called his second timeout of the match and got his team back on track. A kill by Sorensen tied the game at 19 and put Jordie Flippo at the service line. Flippo led all players in points on serve, and immediately added two more with back-to-back aces.

Jacksonville got its service rotation back around to Roy and Lawrence, but the Lady Devils were unable to score on either’s serve. Sorenson, who is not typically a front-row player, got two more kills, and Jarrett put an emphatic end to the match with her ninth kill.

After the match, Treadway talked about leaving Sorensen in the lineup during her front row rotation.

“I play rotations that sometimes not everyone is happy with,” Treadway said. “I thought Michelle was doing the things that was going to help us win this match. We made this too hard because we weren’t playing very focused and were making a lot of mistakes. I felt like she was at least not going to get us beat, and she ended up doing more than that.”

Sorensen finished with five kills, but three came in the last seven points of the match.

While Jacksonville didn’t get the win, it did perhaps find some depth. Roy had not played with the varsity all season, but was called upon with other players out with injuries. She led Jacksonville with 19 points on serve.

“I knew she could serve very well,” Sauheaver said. “I don’t know if I expected her to lead us. But she’s been very solid in junior varsity games. She stepped up for us.”

Lori Shore had 11 points serving for Jacksonville while Lawrence had 10. Lawrence led all players in the match with 17 digs from the back row. Alunte Pettis led the home team with six kills.

Flippo led all players with 27 points on serve, including six aces.

The Lady Bears take part in the Greenbrier tournament today before hosting the same Greenbrier team on Monday. After that it’s back to conference play with a road match at McClellan on Tuesday and a home match against Mills on Thursday. Jacksonville travels to Mills on Tuesday and hosts league-leading and undefeated Little Rock Christian Academy on Thursday. North Pulaski hosts winless Helena-West Helena Central on Tuesday and travels to Pulaski Academy on Thursday.