Tuesday, October 18, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot dominates Little Rock Flames

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers cruised to a 3-0 sweep of the Little Rock Flames at Panther Stadium on Monday in their next-to-last regular season match.

The Home School squad has been highly successful in recent years, but a bevy of unforced errors early gave way to an increasingly powerful Cabot service game as the Lady Panthers won by scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-12.

“They (the Flames) didn’t play as well as I hoped they would, but any win at this point helps build confidence for state,” said Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk.

“I thought we did a really good job of limiting errors and playing together. We didn’t give away anything. I think we’re definitely playing better now than we have so far this year.”

The Lady Panthers jumped out to an 8-1 lead right away in game one, thanks largely to several unforced errors by the Flames. Cabot senior Maddie Brown had two big kills that landed inside the Flames’ attack line.

Little Rock got as close as 17-14, but Brown served three-straight points, including an ace that made it 21-14 and forced a Flame timeout.

Game two started in opposite fashion as game one, as the Home School squad jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Cabot began to chip away a little at a time until Hannah Freeman took serve while trailing 8-10. She served the Lady Panthers to a 13-10 lead.

The Flames broke serve to make it 13-11 and added one point on serve, but Cabot scored the next four in a row, including three more points on serve by Brown, forcing another Little Rock timeout at 17-12.

After the break, the Flames stormed back to within 21-19, but Freeman then came through with a kill of her own. Cabot added another point on a Little Rock error before Taylor Bell and Brown finished game two with consecutive kills.

Freeman continued her hot streak with two points on serve and two kills to lead the Lady Panthers to a 6-4 lead early in game three. Cabot’s service game began to dominate from there.

Brown served three-straight points, with an ace in the middle. Kaelee Simmons served up an ace and another point for a 12-5 lead. Senior Regan Campbell took serve at 13-6 and put the game away. Campbell started her six-point run with back-to-back aces. The first a hard knuckleball serve that ate up the Flames’ serve returner near the back line and careened into the stands behind visitors’ end line. The second landed softly just over the Flames’ side of the net to give Cabot a 15-6 lead and force another timeout.

Cabot went up 16-6 on another big cut shot by Bell. Campbell’s fourth point came at the end of a long rally that saw Cabot’s defense dig out two huge hits before the Flames finally committed another unforced error.

Bell and Brown got one more kill apiece before Campbell finally served long to make the score 19-7.

Freeman came back to the service line two points from victory. After another Little Rock error, Freeman fired Cabot’s sixth ace of game three to end the match.