Saturday, October 17, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe routs Bears for outright crown

Leader sportswriter

Beebe kept its perfect 5A-Central Conference record intact Thursday night at Sylvan Hills with a convincing 3-0 sweep over the Lady Bears, winning by scores of 25-7, 25-8 and 25-14.

With only one conference game remaining and a two-game lead over second-place Pulaski Academy in the conference standings, the Lady Badgers have already locked up the No. 1 playoff seed and the outright conference championship.

Even more impressive is the fact Beebe hasn’t lost a single set in conference play this season, and with Thursday’s win over the Lady Bears, the Lady Badgers improved their 5A-Central record to 13-0.

“I was proud of them,” said Beebe coach Ashley Camp of her team. “We’re big on, especially in conference, controlling what goes on on our side. We were able to put some sophomores in there and get them some reps and some varsity time and they stepped up, for the most part.”

Beebe wasted little time displaying its dominance. The Lady Badgers took their first double-digit lead of game one at 12-2, and that came on 10-consecutive service points by Abby Smith. Three of those serves by Smith were aces.

The Lady Badgers’ lead grew to 15 on an ace serve by Kayla Green, which made the score 22-7. Green added another ace on her next serve to make it 23-7 Beebe. Smith got a kill on the next volley to make it game point and the first game ended on a corner kill by Jerra Malone, with Sarah Clark picking up the assist.

Beebe jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game two. After that, the two teams added four points apiece to make it 8-4 Lady Badgers, but Beebe scored the next five points and soon pushed its lead to double digits with the score 15-5. That score was the result of a kill by sophomore Lani Wolfe at the middle of the net.

Sylvan Hills scored its final point of game two with the score 19-8. Beebe regained serving rights on the next volley with another kill by Smith, and Green served the next five points to put an end to game two and give the Lady Badgers a 2-0 match lead.

Beebe got off to another great start in game three, jumping out to an 8-1 lead before Sylvan Hills broke serve on a Tori Langley kill. The Lady Bears closed the gap to 13-7 on back-to-back kills by sophomore Grace Turner, but didn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

With Paige Smith serving, Beebe’s lead quickly went back to double digits with the score 17-7. Sylvan Hills got within eight of the Lady Badger lead with the score 20-12, but Abby Smith added a kill then an ace serve before a monster kill by Malone made it 23-12.

The Lady Bears scored the next point before another Malone kill set match point, with the score 24-13. Sophomore Cory Tessman scored Sylvan Hills’ final point of the night with a kill on the next volley, and Malone added the match-ending kill on the next serve, with Clark picking up yet another assist.

Thursday’s performance by the Lady Badgers was up to par with the rest of their conference wins this season, and even though they’ve been lights out all year long in league play, earning the outright conference championship with an unblemished conference record, their head coach is hoping they haven’t peaked just yet, since the playoffs are right around the corner.

“I think we’ve progressed,” Camp said, “but I’m telling them, ‘we haven’t peaked yet. We’re still climbing.’ So, trying to get their minds right is the main thing.”

Malone led all players Thursday with 13 kills. Abby Smith added 12 kills for Beebe and Gracie Rymel had eight kills. Abby Smith also had a match-high four ace serves. Clark and Green had three aces apiece. Clark easily had the match high in assists, totaling 36. No other player for either team reached double digits in that statistical category.

Taylor Yeoman led the Lady Bears with six kills and Turner added five kills for the hosts.

Beebe will look to end its conference schedule with a 14-0 record this Tuesday at home against North Pulaski. Sylvan Hills also plays its final 5A-Central match of the season this Tuesday at Pulaski Academy.

The Lady Bruins have already locked up the No. 2 playoff seed from the Central Conference, and the Lady Bears, who dropped to 9-4 in conference play, currently hold the tiebreaker for the No. 3 playoff seed over North Pulaski, according to SHHS coach Harold Treadway.

Both varsity matches this Tuesday will start at 6 p.m.