Saturday, October 15, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot ladies beat NHS

Leader sports editor

The Cabot volleyball team pulled off a mild upset Thursday, beating Fort Smith Northside 3-1 at NHS. The win doesn’t mean much for postseason placement. Cabot had the No. 6 seed locked up regardless of Thursday’s outcome, or the outcome of the conference finale Tuesday against North Little Rock. Where it is meaningful is that it gives the Lady Panthers some momentum as they head into the final week of the regular season and into the state tournament that begins Oct. 24.

“We have been really close several times but we hadn’t been able to beat any of the teams that are ahead of us in the standings,” said Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk. “Finally getting over that hump and beating one of those teams will hopefully add a lot to our confidence with the state tournament coming up.”

The fourth-place Lady Bears (14-12, 7-6) escaped Cabot on Sept. 20 in a match that went five games. On Thursday in Fort Smith, Cabot won the opening game 25-22, and then dominated in a 25-13 game-two victory. Northside fell behind in game three, but mounted a comeback and stole a 27-25 win, but the Lady Panthers regrouped for a 25-17 victory in game four to avoid the tiebreaker set.

“I think we lost focus just a little bit after winning game two so easily,” Chanthaphasouk said. “And even that game we lost was really close. Other than that, I was really pleased with how well we played together as a team. Maddie Brown had a great game swinging and defensively. Taylor Bell was very strong up front for us. Our serve percentage was pretty high. It was an overall good team effort.”

Brown led the team in kills with 21 and in digs with 18. Leah Gerald had 11 digs while Kaelee Simmons had nine.

Bell finished with 14 kills, Hannah Freeman had 24 assists and Simmons finished with a serve percentage of 100 as well as four aces.

The Lady Panthers (16-14, 5-8) will host two matches next week. On Monday Cabot faces Little Rock Home School, and on Tuesday, closes 7A-Central and regular-season play against North Little Rock.