Friday, August 23, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers dominate in benefit matches

Leader sports editor

The matches don’t count on the official record, but the Cabot volleyball team got the 2013 season off to a great start at a benefit jamboree at Conway. Several teams took part in the event, with Cabot squaring off against Sheridan and North Little Rock for two sets against each team.

The Lady Panthers hammered Sheridan 25-16 and 25-4. They carried that momentum into a 25-10 win over North Little Rock in game one. With special rules for the multi-team jamboree, the 30-minute time limit ran out in game two with the Lady Wildcats leading 19-16.

“It went quite well,” Cabot coach DeAnna Campbell said. “They all played so well and that’s the thing I like most about this team. They all shine. They all bring something to the table that’s very important for our success. It was a great team performance.”

Campbell says she didn’t mean to hold Sheridan to four points in game two, but says she lost track of the score while focusing on situational execution.

“We were working on stuff that we thought we’d need in the next match,” Campbell said. “If I would’ve realized it was that bad I would have subbed. But then again the only thing this group still struggles with a little bit is confidence. So it might not have been so bad. I mean I never intend to beat anyone like that, there’s just no point. But it might not have been the worst thing for this group right now.”

After an easy win in game one against what’s becoming a spirited rivalry, things got touchy in game two against North Little Rock.

Leading 13-10 with a little more than eight minutes left in the timed set, Cabot served and scored to go up 14-10, that’s when North Little Rock ran three minutes off the continuous clock subbing and discussing different rules with the floor official.

The delay started with several substitutions as the Lady Wildcats’ first-year coach either couldn’t make up her mind or was confused about her rotation. After a series of players running on and off the court, assistant coach Becky Matthews began discussing something with the floor official. Only five minutes remained when play finally resumed.

Campbell protested to the up referee who didn’t intervene, citing the lax rule enforcement of benefit games.

“I understand things are different in these things than in real games, but that was too much,” Campbell said. “My girls were in the middle of their serve and were just standing there for three minutes. ”

The Lady Wildcats broke on the next serve and scored eight-straight points on serve to take a 19-14 lead. Cabot broke serve and scored again on serve to make it 19-16 when time ran out.

“I asked for my three minutes back but I didn’t get it,” Campbell said. “We were about to come back and win anyway. I stopped and looked at the girls on the way off the floor and told them to just tuck this one away. They won’t be able to do all that stalling in conference games.”

Cabot officially opens the regular season on Tuesday when it hosts a tri-match with Jacksonville and Lonoke at Panther Arena.