No. 1 seed, youth stop Lady Bobcats

Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Berryville sophomore Mahalie Armstrong smacked this spike over a CAC double block, earning one of the Lady Bobcats' points in their first game at the Class AAA State Tournament. Teammate Jerrica Allen, at the bottom, made the set for Armstrong after a good return from the back row. CCN/David McNeal

The Central Arkansas Christian (CAC) volleyball team, the No. 1 seed from the tough 5AAA North conference, ended the Berryville Lady Bobcats' volleyball season Wednesday in the first round of the Class AAA State Tournament in Harrison.

The Lady Mustangs used their experience and unbeaten streak in tournaments to stop Berryville's young squad 25-9, 25-15, and 25-12 in three games.

"They're tough," Coach Sheila Neal said afterward. "They've won every tournament they've been in, including the Harrison tournament and their district, and they placed high in state last year."

In spite of the scores, Coach Neal said, "I thought our girls played good, better than they did at district. But CAC got every serve in, were very consistent.

"We bump, set and spiked, and rallied with them, but the difference in winning and losing was their serves.

"We're gonna be stronger next year," Coach Neal said. "This was our building year. We only had four seniors, and were mostly sophomores. We relied on our subs, with everyone playing a role. We have a good junior high team moving up, and next year, we're going to try to go up to the next level."

STATE TOURNAMENT

ACTION

Berryville's Rain Campbell served the first point of the match, putting the Lady Bobcats up 1-0, then the team fell behind 4-10, 6-13 and 6-21 before scoring three points off spikes from Mahalie Armstrong.

It was too little, too late, and CAC carried that momentum into the next game, although Berryville played much better. The Lady Bobcats shook off their first-game nerves and led 3-2, 6-4, and 10-8 before the match was tied at 14-all.

Berryville earned just one more point as CAC got some good sets and pounded the Lady Bobcat defense with hot shots for a 25-15 win.

"Mahalie Armstrong had an outstanding state tournament game," Coach Neal said about the sophomore.

CAC got their serves going early in the third game and raced out to a 13-3 lead before Berryville got a handle on the low-flying rockets. The team finally got some sets close to the net for 6-0 sophomore Emily Bell, and she pounded a couple of spikes to pull the team from down 22-6 to 23-12, but CAC got the win and moved on to the second round.

"Belci Diaz had some great digs, and Alexis Davis served well," Coach Neal said, "and Emily (Bell) had some spikes."

ALL-DISTRICT, ALL-STATE

The All-District and All-State selections will be released after the state tournament concludes this weekend. They will run in the first issue possible after that announcement.

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