Lady Bobcats nearly pull off upset win
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Lady Bobcats left the floor disappointed after a hard-fought five-set loss to 4A Northwest conference powerhouse Shiloh Christian on Thursday at Bobcat Gym, but coach Kristin Whetham was anything but disappointed by her team’s performance.
Shiloh Christian (16-2, 14-0 4A Northwest) has lost only to Class 6A Bentonville and Fayetteville. Before Thursday’s game, the Lady Saints had won 39 sets while losing just two in conference play — including a 3-0 sweep over Berryville on Sept. 14 in Springdale.
“We talked after the game,” Whetham said. “Of course they were all upset and disappointed because they lost. I told them: ‘There is nothing to walk out of this gym disappointed about. You’re the only team so far this year that’s taken two sets from them. That’s a confidence booster in itself. Would we have liked to win? Well, heck, yeah, we would have. But, taking two sets from Shiloh proves that you’re at least the second-best team. Our record doesn’t show that because we don’t play like this all the time but if you would step on the floor and play against everybody like you played against Shiloh tonight, you would be ranked No. 2 right now. No doubt in my mind.’ ”
Shiloh Christian rallied to win 25-16, 13-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12 after a coaching adjustment helped the Lady Bobcats take the second and third sets for a 2-1 lead.
Whetham rotated senior Lauren Compton away from a Shiloh double-team before the second set.
“I knew their game plan came coming in was to key on Lauren real hard,” Whetham said. “They put up a real hard double block on her, so second set I rotated her to hit from a different position and you could tell that messed up their game plan. And defensively we played great. Shiloh depends on their blocks and if they don’t get the blocks their defense breaks down. So once we moved Lauren over to the right side, they couldn’t block her. The block on that side of the floor was a lot weaker than the other side, so their defense broke down. It definitely helped us. We just couldn’t finish it.”
Compton finished with 18 kills, 13 digs and three aces for the Lady Bobcats. Senior Ella McMellon added nine kills and three blocks while junior Faith Kelley added five kills and one block.
“We played well, probably the best I’ve seen us play all year,” Whetham said. “We had ’em. We just couldn’t finish it.”
Berryville, which swept Gravette in three sets on the road on Monday, Oct. 6, will travel to Farmington on Tuesday, then will play at Huntsville on Thursday to close out the regular season.
The district tournament is scheduled to begin Oct. 27. Whetham said she expects the Lady Bobcats to host a first-round match, most likely against Farmington.