Saturday, October 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Pats blow past Panthers

Leader sports editor

The Cabot volleyball team suffered a pair of conference losses this week. The Lady Panthers started poorly in both matches, but came back to make Tuesday’s loss at North Little Rock competitive and exciting. Scores in that match were 25-13, 25-19, 23-25 and 28-26.

Thursday’s home match against Marion offered little excitement, and left Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk frustrated with his team’s performance.

The Lady Patriots won by scores of 25-9, 25-18 and 25-11.

“Losing is not the issue,” said Chanthaphasouk after Thursday’s match. “When you play hard and you compete, sometimes you still come up short. We didn’t compete tonight. We just gave it away. We didn’t play together; we didn’t play as a team. We played as individuals, playing for ourselves.

“Marion is an outstanding team, so I can’t say we should have just gone out there and beat them. But when you have the talent that we have out on the floor, there’s no reason to lose like that. It was not even very competitive.”

The Lady Panthers lost 3-0 at Marion on Sept. 8, but all three sets were competitive. Scores then were 25-18, 29-27 and 25-22. But the Lady Patriots have been one of the hottest teams in the state over the last month.

Thursday’s match got out of hand early with Marion scoring 14 of the game one’s first 18 points. The lead quickly stretched to 20-5 before Cabot finally began playing point-for-point with the Lady Patriots (20-3-1, 8-2).

Game two continued the back-and-forth trend for a while. Cabot led 7-5 when another series of unforced errors helped the visiting team score five-straight points and take the lead. From there, Marion stretched the lead a little at a time leading to the seven-point win.

The final game started just like the first, with Marion jumping out to a big advantage quickly. The Lady Patriots’ depth at hitter frequently confused Cabot. It didn’t seem to matter who got the set on the visitors’ side of the net. All the Patriots were capable of big swings. Meanwhile, the unforced errors on Cabot’s side continued to mount.

Two consecutive points in game three told the story for the Lady Panthers. A pass after a rare free ball was left unset to fall to the floor. After that, a set was allowed to drop to the floor without a hit.

Marion’s Annalee Parker led the Lady Patriots with 11 kills while Dian Phillips contributed eight. Three other Marion players got at least four kills.

Marion is streaking. Since back-to-back losses to North Little Rock and Mountain Home, Marion has gone 16-1-1, and 16-0 against teams from Arkansas. The tie was to Briarcrest Christian during pool play of the ASU Playday tournament last weekend. The loss was to the same team in the championship match of that tournament.

During that run, Marion swept both conference teams it lost to earlier this season.

Cabot (6-7, 5-5) hosts Mountain Home on Tuesday.