Monday, August 31, 2015

SPORTS >> Youthful Lady Rabs stumble out of gate

Leader sportswriter

The first week of volleyball play was a rough one for the Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits, as they went 0-3 in conference action, losing to Arkansas Baptist and Clinton before dropping a 3-0 match at Central Arkansas Christian on Thursday. Scores in Thursday’s match were 25-9, 25-21 and 25-17.

Lonoke played at Arkansas Baptist on Monday and at home against Clinton on Tuesday. The Lady Rabbits did beat Class 3A Jessieville on Wednesday, but it was a benefit game and doesn’t count as a regular season game.

Lady Rabbits coach Laura Park was hoping her team could go into today’s Spikefest Tournament with a win, but the Lady Mustangs, who improved to 2-0 overall and in conference play with Thursday’s win, didn’t let that happen.

“I did not expect to be 0-3,” said Park. “I knew it was going to be rough. Our first two matches we played were really close, but this one, we just started out in a whirlwind it seemed like. For some reason we couldn’t pass a ball tonight.”

The first game of Thursday’s match got out of hand in a hurry, as the Lady Mustangs jumped out to a 21-6 lead. Lonoke finally broke serve and Lady Rabbit sophomore Gracie Mason served consecutive aces before CAC took back serving rights.

CAC freshman Faith Elder then went to the serving line and served the final three points to set the final score of game one. Game two was much more competitive, and was the most competitive game of the three.

The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Lonoke battled back and took its first lead of the game at 10-9. CAC, though, regained serving rights on the next volley, and maintained the lead for the majority of that game, but didn’t get very much separation on the scoreboard till the end of the game.

Lonoke tied it up at 13-13, 14-14 and 17-17, and even took the lead at 18-17. But the Lady Mustangs retook the lead two points later, and pushed their lead to as much as 24-19.
The Lady Rabbits scored their final two points on the next two volleys, which came on a block and service point by senior Jarrelyn McCall. CAC broke serve the next volley and, in turn, scored its 25th point to end game two in its favor.

Lonoke got off to a solid start in the third game, jumping out to a 9-3 lead, but CAC came roaring back. The Lady Mustangs regained serving rights to make the score 9-4, and sophomore outside hitter Cicley Young served six-straight points before her next serve went too far and out of bounds. That made the score 10-10.

The two teams traded points to a 12-12 tie before CAC began to separate itself on the scoreboard. The Lady Mustangs scored nine-straight points to lead 21-12 before Lonoke broke serve on a corner kill by Kennedy White.

Mason then went to the serving line and served three-straight points, two of which were aces, to bring the Lady Rabbits within 21-16 of CAC’s lead. The Lady Mustangs responded by scoring the next three points before Lady Rabbit senior Ashlyn Allen scored Lonoke’s final point of the night with a corner kill.

The next point went to CAC, which ended the game and the match in the Lady Mustangs’ favor.

CAC’s Lauren Horton led all players with seven kills Thursday, and she and teammate Taylor Kittinger served four aces each. McCall led Lonoke with five kills Thursday. Mason had team-highs with four aces and five assists, and Daisha Edmonson had a team-high four blocks.

Lonoke will look to get its first official win of the season at the Spikefest Tournament in Little Rock today. The Lady Rabbits’ first game will be at 9 a.m. at Episcopal Collegiate School.

Lonoke plays next at Pulaski Robinson on Monday before resuming conference play at home against West Helena on Tuesday. Both varsity games Monday and Tuesday will begin at 6 p.m.