Saturday, September 24, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Norths tough on Cabot in 7A-Central volleyball

Special to The Leader

The Lady Panther volleyball team’s two-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday with a heartbreaking 3-2 home loss to Fort Smith Northside in a 7A-Central matchup.

Senior hitter Maddie Brown shined in the match, but the Lady Panthers couldn’t take advantage of the momentum gained in a dominant game four, and dropped the deciding tiebreaker set 25-15. Overall scores in the match were 25-27, 25-22, 25-19, 15-25 and 15-9 for the Lady Grizzlies.

On Thursday, Cabot made it two losses in a row, falling 3-1 at North Little Rock, dropping to 2-5 in conference play and 9-7 overall.

In Thursday’s match, scores were 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-20 for the Charging Lady Wildcats.

“It’s always tough to play here because of the heat, and they’re a tough team,” said Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk. “But if we hadn’t given them a bunch of points in a row, I think we would be very competitive against them. All the games were tight. If we eliminate those unfocused moments, I think we can take them. We even practiced in a hot gym yesterday to get ready for this. It’s always tough when you have an air-conditioned gym, and you go to a gym where there’s no air. Most of the time when they come to our gym, we go five. We compete with them. Let’s hope that when they come back toward the end of the season, which is our last home game, being a home game, and last home game, we will show a little more focus and a little more fight. And we’ll just hope for the best.”

Set one was extremely close with neither team leading by more than two points. The set was tied 19 times as the teams battled back and forth before the Lady Wildcats finally prevailed.

North Little Rock had first serve, but Maddie Brown got the ball for Cabot with a kill. Brown got another kill for a 2-2 tie before the teams exchanged several unforced errors. Taylor Bell gave the Lady Panthers a 5-4 lead with a kill, but Imani Jackson answered with a kill for the Lady Wildcats to tie the set at 5-5.

Mollie Johnson scored a kill for Cabot to tie the set at seven, and Jackson’s kill tied the set at eight for North Little Rock. The Lady Wildcats went ahead by two, but Bell got the ball back for the Lady Panthers with a kill, and Regan Campbell tied the set at 10-10 with a service ace.

Bell had a big kill from the center of the net for a 12-11 lead, but North Little Rock again tied with a kill. An ace by Jada Curtis gave the Lady Wildcats the 14-13 advantage, but another kill by Brown tied the set once more.

The teams went back and forth until after Curtis gave North Little Rock the lead with a kill, Bell answered with her own kill, then an ace serve to give Cabot a 20-19 lead. Brown had two consecutive kills for a lead of 23-21, but the Lady Wildcats scored four straight to end the set at 25-23.
Set two was just as close as set one, but the score at the end was reversed, as Cabot was reversed. Mya Robinson had two kills to give North Little Rock a 4-2 early lead, but a kill by Brown and a block by Kallie Cavin tied the score at 4-4.

Again, the teams played evenly, with the largest lead three points. Two consecutive blocks by Bell and Johnson gave Cabot momentum and a 18-16 edge. Then, on Campbell’s service, a kill by Hannah Freeman helped the Lady Panthers to a 22-19 advantage. The Lady Wildcats tied the score at 23-23, but the Lady Panthers got the ball back for set point, and a block by Cavin gave them the win at 25-23.

Beneisha Williams had three kills in the set for North Little Rock.

The third set started out all Lady Wildcats, but Cabot rallied back to make it close. North Little Rock’s biggest lead was 18-8 before the Lady Panthers scored five consecutive points on the Freeman’s serve to cut the lead to 18-14.

The teams then exchanged points until the Lady Wildcats came out the winner.

Brown started the scoring on set four with a down the line kill, giving Cabot the 1-0 lead, but North Little Rock came charging back to lead 4-1 on an ace serve by Jada Bailey.

The Lady Panthers went on a run of their own to take a 7-5 edge on Johnson’s service. Cabot led 13-11 before the Lady Wildcats all but sealed the match with 10-0 run.

Brown finished with 20 kills for Cabot while Bell had 11. Cavin and Johnson finished with four blocks apiece. Maddie Brown also had 12 digs, while Kaelee Simmons led the team in that category with 21. Campbell had nine and Freeman eight.

Brown had 25 kills on Tuesday against Northside while Johnson had 10.

Defensively, Simmons finished with 28 digs while Brown had 22 and Leah Gerald finished with 17.

Johnson also had three aces, all three during a during a 14-1 run that turned the tide in game one to Cabot’s favor.

The Lady Panthers begin their second half of the conference round robin on Tuesday at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.