Lady Black­hawks take first set from Shiloh

Lady Black­hawks drop semi­fi­nal match 3-1

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - SPORTS - BY MARK HUMPHREY Spe­cial to The TIMES

Pea Ridge be­came the last 4A-1 team to punch a ticket to state with a 25-16, 25-13, 25-9 sweep of Gravette in the dis­trict tour­na­ment at Lin­coln Tues­day, Oct. 17.

The Lady Black­hawks then tried to take a step fur­ther with a 25-22 up­set of top-seeded Shiloh Chris­tian in game one of the first semi­fi­nal. Af­ter drop­ping their first set to a 4A team all sea­son, the Lady Saints took care of busi­ness by winning three straight, 2514, 25-8 and 25-17, to claim the match and a berth in Thursday’s cham­pi­onship match at the Lin­coln High School gym.

“Our girls played re­ally well, they came out fo­cused,” said Pea Ridge coach Jes­sica Woods, say­ing she was proud of her team which doesn’t have any se­niors for how they han­dled the pres­sure of play­ing for a state tour­na­ment berth.

“They’ve never got to go to state, so they were re­ally de­ter­mined to win. Ours is a team of un­der­class­men. We don’t have any se­niors.”

She liked the en­ergy the Lady Black­hawks dis­played dur­ing the first set, 25-22, win over Shiloh.

“That was nice, they car­ried over the ex­cite­ment and mo­men­tum of go­ing to state into that first set and played re­ally well.”

That game was all Pea Ridge early. Ju­nior Madi­son Mcguire had two aces and class­mate Cassy Porter and sopho­more Kyn­ley Burton added kills as the Lady Black­hawks jumped out to a 7-3 lead. Shiloh coach

Nathan Bo­den­stein called time-out with his squad trail­ing, 14-11, af­ter an­other Burton kill.

“Where’s your en­ergy? Where’s your en­ergy?” Bo­den­stein re­peated a ques­tion in the hud­dle.

The Lady Saints couldn’t get in rhythm. Each time they closed to within a point, they’d give a point back with a ser­vice er­ror. Fresh­men Josey Goldberg’s kill from the back-row brought Pea Ridge to game­point at 24-22 and Shiloh couldn’t han­dle a strong hit by Pea Ridge ju­nior Gabby Adams. The Lady Saints had four hits and lost the first set, 25-22.

They trailed early in the sec­ond set, 4-1, be­fore us­ing a 9-0 run to grab the lead. A hit­ting er­ror gave Pea Ridge a point, then Shiloh reeled off the next five points. Shiloh’s Lexi Richards, who recorded 21 kills and 16 digs gave Pea Ridge trou­ble at the net with block-kills and her team­mates, who didn’t pro­duce much of an at­tack in the first set, got go­ing.

Kaylee Jack­son had a pair of kills sand­wiched around the of­fense of Richards (dig), Jen­try Lantzsch (set) and Jor­dan Rochelle (kill) to push Shiloh’s ad­van­tage to 20-8. Shiloh never looked back, winning the sec­ond set, 25-14 and the third set 25-8. Pea Ridge made a lit­tle head­way in the third set on back-to-back aces from Mcguire, but they could get no closer than 15-13. Shea San­de­fur’s block-kill brought the Lady Saints to match-point, at 24-17. She fin­ished off the Lady Black­hawks with a strong hit that car­omed outof-bounds off Pea Ridge to make the fi­nal, 25-17.

“Jes­sica Woods is a great coach. She al­ways has a well-pre­pared team,” Bo­den­stein said. “They are pretty young and they came out with a lot of en­ergy. I’m happy with how we han­dled it af­ter that first set.”

Lantzsch and Had­die McDon­ald com­bined for 40 as­sists, which Bo­den­stein said is prob­a­bly a sea­son­high. McDon­ald had 12 digs and Lantzsch had 9.

“They al­most each had a dou­ble-dou­ble and my libero Tay­lor Lar­son fi­nally came to play. She had 25 digs.”

Pea Ridge fin­ished the match with­out Burton, who was ex­tremely ef­fec­tive in the first set. She sat out with an in­jury and didn’t re­turn.

Pho­to­graph by Mark Humphrey

Pea Ridge coach Jes­sica Woods goes over tac­tics with the Lady Black­hawk vol­ley­ball team dur­ing a time­out while com­pet­ing against Shiloh Chris­tian in the semi­fi­nals, Tues­day, Oct. 17 at Lin­coln. Pea Ridge handed Shiloh their first set loss to a 4A team, 25-22, in game one, but lost the match 3-1.

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