Lady Tigers have successful season

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Their record might not indicate it, but 2015 will be a season to remember for Green Forest volleyball fans.

Throughout the regular season, the Lady Tigers beat the likes of Cotter, Flippin and Eureka Springs, but were unable to beat Valley Springs, Bergman or Alpena, thus putting them fourth heading into the district tournament.

"Only the top three advance to state, so we were hoping that we would win some of those conference games and be in better position," Green Forest coach Trista Killingsworth said. "But once you get to the district tournament, it all resets and that is what I told my girls."

Down 0-2 heading into the third set of a semifinal match against Valley Springs, a team that hadn't lost a conference match all year, Killingsworth reminded her team of the goals they had set throughout the year.

"We had a goal entering the season of winning the conference," Killingsworth said. "When that didn't happen we set a goal of winning districts. I just said guys, 'Our goal is to win the district tournament. Are you in? Because this isn't going to cut it."

Things turned around for Green Forest, as the Lady Tigers won the final three sets and defeated Valley Springs for the first time of the season.

"I was just so proud of my girls," Killingsworth said. "We came out much more aggressive and I think that really took Valley Springs by surprise."

That victory set up a championship match against the Alpena Lady Leopards. This was another five-set thriller, but Green Forest got out to an early 2-0 lead. Alpena won the next two sets to tie things at 2-2, but seniors Kelby Harness, Carley Chicas, Payton Youngblood and Lexy Fernandez weren't going to let the early lead slip away.

"I have a great senior class," Killingsworth said. "They have put in a tremendous amount of hard work and they will truly be missed."

The victory against Alpena gave the Lady Tigers a No. 1 seed in the state tournament and a first-round match against Harding Academy. Even though the Lady Tigers lost, Killingsworth is very proud of what her team accomplished throughout the season.

"We steadily improved as the season went along," Killingsworth said. "It was fun to be there and watch us grow as time went by."

Green Forest finished the season 16-10.

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