Conference champs: Lady Tigers claim crown, lock up state tournament spot
By Scott Loftis
The Green Forest Lady Tigers are conference champions, and they’re headed to the Class 3A state volleyball tournament.
The Lady Tigers clinched the 3A North conference title with a four-set victory over Perryville on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Grim Gym.
“We had to beat them in four sets or less,” Green Forest coach Christie Popejoy said. “We played really well. I’m so proud of them.”
Senior Alissa Smith had a team-high 10 kills for Green Forest to go along with two aces and five digs. Junior Maddie Youngblood added nine kills and three digs. Senior Skylar Howerton had seven kills, two aces and a block. Junior Magen Parton had three kills and a team-high four aces. Senior Kendall DeMeyer had 15 assists, a dig and an ace, with senior Kiara Taylor adding 13 assists and one dig.
How did the Lady Tigers react to their first conference title since 2009?
“They were ecstatic,” Popejoy said. “I bet it took us 30 minutes to clear the gym, they were so excited.”
Green Forest, in its first year under Popejoy, lost back-to-back conference road matches to Clinton and Perryville on Sept. 17 and Sept. 19. But the Lady Tigers won their final six conference matches to finish 10-2 in the league.
“I think we’ve finally found our rhythm,” Popejoy said. “I changed some people around and it took us a while to find our rhythm, but now everybody knows they can count on the player next to them.”
Green Forest closed out the regular season by sweeping visiting Eureka Springs in three sets on Thursday. The Lady Tigers earned a first-round bye in the district tournament that starts Monday at Bergman. They’ll play at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the winner of Monday night’s match between Marshall and Bergman.
The Lady Tigers have earned an automatic bid to the Class 3A State Tournament that starts Oct. 29 at Paris High School.