Friday, July 24, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot volleyball showing signs of improvement

Leader sports editor

The Cabot volleyball team has enjoyed a successful summer. The Lady Panthers went to the first of two big team camps hosted by the University of Arkansas. After two days of training and instruction, Cabot won the two-day tournament format of the camp.

Second-year Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk didn’t want to single any player out for extraordinary play, but did recognize overall team improvement.

“Everybody really played hard and played together well,” said Chanthaphasouk. “They moved a little better and communicated. I think there’s definite signs of improvement.”

On Friday, the Lady Panthers wrapped up their own youth camp they hosted all week long. Monday through Wednesday the Cabot coaches ran a camp for grades six through nine. On Thursday and Friday, the Lady Panther players coached fifth graders and younger.

“The girls have done a tremendous job,” Chanthaphasouk said of his players. “We coaches sort of go around making sure everything’s going smoothly, but the girls have really been running the show. They’ve been outstanding.”

Cabot lost a few seniors from last year’s squad, but it was mostly a young team that finished second to North Little Rock in the 7A-East. The head coach still thinks the Charging Lady Wildcats will be the team to beat, but believes his team’s improvement, along with a year’s experience, should make it more competitive.

“North Little Rock swept us last year and they’re still the team to beat,” Chanthaphasouk said. “Central was good, too. We’re playing, I think, a tougher nonconference schedule this year to help get us ready for the level of competition we’ll be seeing regularly during conference play. Mountain Home, Marion and Jonesboro are all very strong programs that we’ll play twice in conference, even though it won’t actually count on a our conference record.”

Chanthaphasouk wasn’t familiar with many of the teams at the camp in Fayetteville, so he was hesitant to say his team’s success there is an indicator of things to come in the high school season, but he was still pleased with the result.

“I think there were more out of state teams there than in-state,” Chanthaphasouk said. “None of the major northwest Arkansas teams were there and I’m not sure why. They have two camps and one was this week. Of course we couldn’t be there because we’re having our camp, but I wonder if that’s the one all the other Arkansas teams are going to. But we’re participating next month in the Conway jamboree, so that will be a lot of good competition there.”