Friday, August 09, 2013

SPORTS STORY>>Third day of camp best for Panthers

Leader sports editor

The Cabot volleyball team went to the Benton team camp this week with its entire roster healthy, available and intact for the first time since last October. Results were what one would expect. The Lady Panthers were sloppy on the first day, better on the second day and played its best volleyball of the summer on day three.

Cabot coach DeAnna Campbell couldn’t be more pleased with the progress the team showed over the course of the camp.

“We got a lot done,” said Campbell. “The first day was bumpy but we played better and better with every match. Early on there were some communication errors because we haven’t been a full unit. You could see them getting more and more comfortable and they got better. We accomplished a lot.”

Cabot won every match it played on Tuesday after losing to Central Arkansas Christian and Benton on Monday. That earned them a match against perennial powerhouse Conway in the first round of bracket play. The Lady Panthers played the Lady Wampus Cats point for point to 18, but a few mistakes allowed Conway to pull away and advance.

“What I liked about playing Conway was, it’s such a great program gram sometimes you can see teams are beat before the match starts,” Campbell said. “My girls went out there like it was any other team and didn’t show any fear at all. They played them like they would play anyone else. What got us was our game speed. To play at that level and win, we’re going to have to transition faster. We can do anything any other team can do. We just have to get faster at it to win at that level.”

Campbell singled out the five returning senior starters as the players who shined the most.

“Everyone did well,” Campbell said. “There’s not a kid who didn’t do well. I can see a big difference in their junior year to now. Lakin (Best) did a great job with all the things we have her doing. She’s an all-around athlete and we’re going to ask a lot from her this year. Taylor (Bitely) played big for us. Becca Moffett came back after not playing last year, and by the end of this camp you couldn’t even tell she’s been gone. She was rusty the first day but she played extremely well the rest of the camp.

“(Kaitlyn) Pittman did a good job over on the left side after playing right last year. She’s really sneaky and she gets her points off making smart plays. And Bailea (Uhiren) did great setting for us. She was a hitter for us last year and she was spot on that second day. We beat Fountain Lake 25-11 and then beat Central 25-9, largely because she was setting us so well.”

Cabot will play in a benefit jamboree at Conway on Thursday, Aug. 22, then opens the regular season hosting a tri-match with Jacksonville and Lonoke on Tuesday, Aug. 27.