Friday, August 04, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Panthers making strides

By RAY BENTON  Leader sports editor

When the Cabot volleyball team started play in a team camp at Benton earlier this week, head coach Kham Chanthaphasouk’s main objective was too see improvement since an early July camp at Missouri State University.

That objective was met.

Over the course of the camp, the young Cabot team played four teams it went a combined 0-7 against in last year’s regular season. At Benton, they went 2-2 against those same four teams and were competitive in close matches in the two losses.

Cabot beat Batesville and Mount St. Mary, while losing close sets to 2016 7A-Central co-champions North Little Rock and Conway.

“It went very well,” said Chanthaphasouk. “When you compare it to how we played at MSU, we improved tremendously. We have so many that have no real varsity experience, so I wasn’t really too upset with how we did at MSU, but I knew we were going to have to get a lot better. This camp was encouraging because I think it shows that we are getting better.”

Final scores, however, were not what the head Panther was most concerned about. After the MSU camp, Chanthaphasouk and assistant coach Ann Robertson implemented some specific drills and address the problem areas. He also wanted to see improvement in some of the intangibles. He was encouraged by all of it.

“The main thing that I was most excited about was the teamwork,” Chanthaphasouk said. “They were talking and communicating on the floor. They were transitioning faster and helping each other do that. Everybody, every single player, it looked like to me, took a step forward.”

The head Panther said there were still a few errors, and some of the competition held distinct size advantages the squad struggled to deal with at times. But the prevailing mood of the camp was extremely positive.

“We’re definitely not perfect and no one expected us to be,” Chanthaphasouk said. “What we did, though, without a doubt, was showed that we’re moving in the right direction. We made a plan to improve on certain things and we did that in leaps and bounds. Compared to MSU it was night and day.”