Lady Hor­nets look to rebound

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE -

BRYANT — Af­ter a los­ing sea­son and a missed state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance last year which saw long-time Head Coach Beth Solomon step down, the Bryant Lady Hor­nets vol­ley­ball team re­turns to the court this sea­son with a trip to Lake­side Tues­day to take on the Lady Rams.

Tak­ing over for Solomon last sea­son was vol­ley­ball vet­eran Leigh Ann Back, who re­turns at the helm this sea­son. Af­ter that tough year in a very tough 6A Central Con­fer­ence, Back said the Lady Hor­nets have sev­eral strengths.

“Our hit­ting looks good,” she said. “We are pretty good-sized. I’ve got a very strong de­fense. I think we’ll be rel­a­tively com­pet­i­tive. I think we’ll be OK.”

Back said the Lady Hor­nets will play a split 5-1 with se­nior Cora Ed­wards and ju­nior Shaylee Carver set­ting. Se­nior Truli Bates and ju­nior Sam­mie Jo Ferguson will man the middle, while ju­nior Cas­sidy Land will cover the right side.

Out­side hit­ters will be ju­niors Ella Reynolds and Made­lyn Hoskins, while se­nior Erin Thomp­son will cover the back as libero (de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist). Liberos also go­ing to see time in the back are ju­niors Jaiyah Jack­son and Sam Still, and se­nior Kiarra Beard.

But, with the Lady

Hor­nets show­ing sev­eral strengths, in­ex­pe­ri­ence at the set­ting po­si­tion could be a prob­lem.

“We’re still fine-tun­ing

a lot of things,” Back said. “My set­ters are a lit­tle in­ex­pe­ri­enced and I think that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be the big­gest goal that we have is to get our set­ters more con­sis­tent and to give them more ex­pe­ri­ence. I don’t think Cora has played the po­si­tion of setter since she was in sev­enth grade.”

And of course there is the killer 6A Central Con­fer­ence, which sported the top two teams in the state last year, with Con­way de­feat­ing Fort Smith South­side in the ti­tle match last sea­son.

“We’re go­ing to try and keep ev­ery­thing mov­ing for­ward and keep pro­gress­ing,” Back said, “and make sure we’re stress­ing the process to get bet­ter ev­ery day.”

Af­ter their road trip to Lake­side on Tues­day, the Lady Hor­nets will host Pu­laski Academy on Thurs­day. Prior to the match, Bryant holds a cat­fish fry fundraiser (River­side Gro­cery), which be­gins at 4 p.m.

RHP DJ Johnson to Triple-a Al­bu­querque to make room for Sen­za­tela.

TRAINER’S ROOM Car­di­nals: INF Kolten Wong was held out of the lineup af­ter foul­ing a pitch off his toe in the sev­enth in­ning Satur­day.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Bryant ju­nior Sam Still digs up a ball dur­ing a ben­e­fit match in Benton this past Thurs­day.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Bryant se­nior Truli Bates jump serves dur­ing a ben­e­fit match in Benton this past Thurs­day.

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