Saturday, October 18, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe breezes by Sylvan Hills

Leader sports editor

The Lady Badgers’ volleyball team continued its march towards its first conference championship on Thursday, beating Sylvan Hills 3-0 in a match that held significant playoff implications. Entering the match at Badger Arena, Beebe held a one-game lead on the Lady Bears in the 5A-Central standings.

The results keep Beebe in a first-place tie with Pulaski Academy, with whom it has the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed, and assures Sylvan Hills of third place and a three seed, regardless of how the rest of the season plays out.

“We’re third now,” said Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway. “It’s disappointing how this match went, but we just have to move forward trying to improve for the state tournament.”

All three games were very competitive to about the halfway point. In all three, Beebe went on long runs to pull away. Scores in the match were 25-14, 25-15 and 25-15.

It will be Beebe’s second trip to the state tournament, and first for everyone on this team.

“We’re excited to go,” said Beebe coach Ashley Camp. “Hopefully we’ll keep it going and enter the tournament with a lot of confidence and keep playing well.”

Service points were hard to come by early on in each game. Beebe led 6-2 before Sylvan Hills scored five straight points, including three kills by senior Brooke Rainey. Neither team scored another point on serve until Beebe’s Destiny Nunez hit an ace for a 12-11 Lady Badger lead. That was the beginning of the end in game one. Nunez continued serving for another nine points and a 21-11 lead, though there were no more aces. Several long rallies ensued during the run, but all fell Beebe’s way.

“They were just a little more consistent than we were,” Treadway said. “The first time we played them they beat us 3-1, but I don’t think they beat us as much as we beat ourselves. This time they beat us. They were able to keep those rallies going. Someone is going to make a mistake eventually and they were more consistent than we were.”

In game two, neither team led by more than one point until a kill by Jerra Malone gave the Lady Badgers a 10-8 lead. Sylvan Hills answered with two points to tie it again and it went back and forth until 12-12. Trailing 10-12, Sylvan Hills’ Karley Walton got a kill to break serve, then aced the Lady Badgers to tie it up. After Beebe broke serve, the home team scored four points on serve, three of which were unforced errors by Sylvan Hills. Sylvan Hills rallied again to pull within two points at 17-15, but scored no more.

Malone got a kill to stop the rally, then served up back-to-back aces to start a seven-point rally to end the game 25-15.

Game three went much the same as the first two. Beebe led 19-15 when Abby Smith hit a service streak and closed the match with an ace.

Rainey led all players with 13 kills and added four digs. Jamia Willis had seven digs for Sylvan Hills to lead in that category. Malone led Beebe with 12 kills and four aces. Abby Hogue added seven kills for the Lady Badgers while Paige Smith led all players with eight digs. Nunez scored a game-high 14 points on serve with two aces.