Friday, August 25, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe has big first week

Leader sports editor

The first week of the Audra Huggins era of Beebe volleyball has generated some excitement after two big wins to start the season. The Lady Badgers opened the season with a 3-0 win at Sylvan Hills, and then came back from a 0-2 deficit to beat Little Rock Christian Academy in the home opener. It was only the second time in school history for Beebe to beat LRCA, a perennial power in central Arkansas.

Against the Lady Warriors, Beebe jumped ahead early, but the bigger LRCA squad put together a huge rally and took a 25-19 win in game one. That momentum continued in game two, as the visiting team rolled out to a double-digit lead before Huggins called timeout.

Though Beebe didn’t win game two, the tide changed after that timeout.

“We were beat in game two. I knew it,” said Huggins. “We were too far behind, but I just wasn’t going to let them go down without a fight. I never sit down over there. I told them that I don’t quit and you won’t either unless you want me to bench every single one of you.

“I honestly think, though, it really came down to a trust issue. We haven’t been through much together, and I don’t think they really fully trusted me, that what I was telling them would do any good. I told them, ‘you have got to trust in what I’m telling you. I think we reached a milestone as a team when they did that and we reeled off some points in game two.”

The Lady Badgers put together its own rally after the game-two timeout. LRCA was forced to call a timeout, and regrouped enough to score the final few points for another 25-19 win.

Beebe won a competitive game three 25-18, and then blasted the Lady Warriors 25-8 in game four.

The tiebreak set was nip and tuck to the end, with Beebe pulling off a 15-13 victory.

Beebe’s service game played a big role in the turnaround as well.

“We got more aggressive serving,” Huggins said. “We were moving some of their hitters. Lanie Wolfe and Layla Wilson really controlled that. Layla had a nice jump floater going at their shoulders and they didn’t handle it. Lanie just has a nice, solid serve and was hitting her spots. She had a big night tonight.”

The Lady Warriors came into the match with the clear strategy to take away Reaven Seymore, who had some monster kills that landed inside the 10-foot line in the opener at Sylvan Hills. So Beebe went elsewhere with the ball, and it proved effective.

“They put three blocks on Reaven early and she got a little frustrated,” Huggins said. “We just have to get her to understand, the hardest swing isn’t always the smartest swing. But they came in with the plan to take her out of the game, so we went to Lanie, and she did a great job.”

Wolfe finished with 12 kills and served seven aces. That helped spread the defense and opened things up again for Seymore, and she finished with seven kills, four blocks and four digs.

Mikayla Lawrence and Autumn O’Rourke had four kills apiece, and Farren Wilson had four. Wilson finished with eight assists and eight service aces. Bailey May had four assists and Lily Boyce had three digs.

In the opening match of the season, Beebe blew through Sylvan Hills in game one 25-9. That same kind of momentum continued in game two, but five net violations by the Lady Badgers helped Sylvan Hills, with the set ending 25-16.

The Lady Bears began to regroup and made game three close most of the way. It started just like the first two games, with Wolfe serving three-straight points, including two aces, for a quick 3-0 Lady Badger lead.

Sylvan Hills then broke, and Aliya Hatton served up three-straight points to give the Lady Bears their first lead of the night. It went back and forth from there, and when Beebe was called for its ninth net violation of the night, the game was tied at 17.

It was all Beebe from there. Beebe broke right back and the freshman Wilson served out the match with seven-straight points. She aced the Lady Bears to make it 21-17 and forced Sylvan Hills High coach Harold Treadway to call a timeout. After the break, Wolfe got a kill, Wilson served another ace, Hatton’s kill shot went long and another ace by Wilson finished the game 25-17.

Seymore finished with five kills and four blocks, and also served four aces. Wolfe also had five kills with one block and four aces.