(Charles Chappell/CCN Contributing Photographer) [Order this photo]
The Lady Tigers (7-2, 6-1) utilized their size on the front line to control action at the net, including limiting Berryville's Hannah Noble to just 12 kills and three aces, well below her season averages.
"I made sure I matched up one of my stronger players with (Noble)," Prairie Grove coach Hannah McDonald said. "We are stronger on the net than we are in back defense. They have a couple of strong players on front so we were strategic in how we set up on front."
Noble faced double teams on the edge all night and couldn't find room to provide points from her powerful net game.
"It was really frustrating," Noble said. "We realize that if I get set up more inside I can go cross court."
After falling by eight points in the opener, the second game was a back-and-forth battle that took extra points to decide after the Lady Bobcats rallied to knot the score at 25-25. But Prairie Grove continued to use its power up front to drive Berryville's defense back. Once the defenders were on their heels, the tip jar was open down front.
"That's our fault," Whetham said. "We are covered for tips. We just didn't move. We don't sacrifice our bodies. That's our problem right now. We are afraid to hit the floor."
Prairie Grove scored on several kills but found more points just across the net.
"I would say they only got six points off kills unless it was a tip," Whetham said. "I tried to get tippers up closer but our front girls won't hit the floor."
With Aleksei Smith and Hannah Needham still nursing injuries, Whetham was short-handed in the service game, as well as up front in the dead zone the Lady Tigers exploited. When Berryville did get good set opportunities, Whetham said the ball was not being played to the proper location to give the big hitters, including Noble, a chance to make a play.
"Our setters were not putting the ball where we needed it," Whetham said. "They knew everywhere she was going to hit."
At Valley Springs, Berryville cruised to straight-set 25-18, 25-15, 25-18 wins over Valley Springs on the road.
Trowbridge, Noble and McKenna Gerster had four aces each. Noble added 14 kills and Hayley Skelton chipped in with seven. Morgan Pondo contributed five kills and a pair of blocks.
The junior high team won both its matches this week, sweeping both Prairie Grove and Valley Springs to remain perfect at 10-0.