Lady ’Hawks head to State Tourney
The Lady Blackhawk volleyball team boarded the bus Tuesday morning to travel to Mena for the state tournament. Coached by Jessica Woods and Rudy Sanchez, the Lady ’Hawks finished as the third seed, pitting them against Brookland, No. 2 seed from the Northeast, for the 7 p.m. Tuesday game in Mena in the State 4A volleyball tournament.
Tournament host Pea Ridge gave Farmington few openings to set its offense up as the Lady Blackhawks swept the consolation match, 25-10, 25-22, 26-24, Thursday.
“Our team has really worked on focusing for an entire game,” Jessica Woods, Lady Blackhawks coach, said. “We knew that we wanted to close the season in our home gym with a win. Having six seniors, they wanted their last home game to finish on top. It just happened to be the last game against Farmington.”
The Oct. 18, 2018, lopsided match wrapped up District 4A-1 competition for both teams, which will advance to the State 4A tournament along with tournament champion, Harrison, which swept defending state champion Shiloh Christian, 2624, 25-18, 25-13, in the finals. Pea Ridge recovered rapidly after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing to Harrison, 25-16, 25-10, 18-25, 22-25, 15-8, in a Tuesday, Oct. 16, semifinal.
Pea Ridge jumped out to a 9-0 lead in game one, which set the tone for the match. Pea Ridge senior Madison Mcquire served several aces and gave Farmington fits throughout the match.
“We came out slow. We normally do that. I don’t know why,” said Farmington coach Mike Howard. “I talked to the girls about it. They came out slow and Pea Ridge is too good of a team to come out slow. They make you pay for it.”
Farmington’s inability to put the offense together made points hard to come by. Pea Ridge executed fundamental volleyball nearly to perfection at times, keeping Farmington off-balance and taking the first set, 25-10.
“They did really well on servereceive and on defense,” Howard said. “They forced us into some shots that we really don’t like hitting. They turned those shots into offense. When we did get kills, they didn’t get their head down. They played kind of up, played for the next point all the time.”
Farmington led 5-0 in the second set and 18-16, but coming out of a time-out Pea Ridge got kills from Cassy Porter and then two in a row by Josey Goldberg. Addison Fenton’s kill tied the game at 21-21. Pea Ridge scored twice on tip kills and Goldberg ended the set with a kill with the score, 25-22, in favor of the Lady Blackhawks.
“On our end, we let a couple of their attacks even though we were getting under them and getting them back over, we let their momentum kind of kill ours, which isn’t like us. We know that we play with momentum better from behind,” Howard said.
The third set was the closest. Farmington began well with aces by Addyson Cassell and Brittany Pittman, which coupled with Kaylee Purifoy’s kill and another ace by Lovell prompted a Pea Ridge time-out with the Lady Cardinals leading 8-3. Farmington extended the margin to 12-5 on Kally Stout’s kill; and 17-9 following back-to-back aces from Pittman.
At that juncture the tide turned and Pea Ridge began to creep back into the game. An 11-3 run
drew the Lady Blackhawks even at 20-20. The score was tied twice more. Porter’s kill postured Mcguire to serve. Farmington couldn’t get a second hit and Pea Ridge reached game-point and matchpoint, at 24-23. Pittman’s block-kill kept the Lady Cardinals alive, but a serve hit the net and bounced backwards repeating the scenario.
This time Farmington couldn’t dodge the bullet when Goldberg drove the final point home with a kill and Pea Ridge won 26-24 to claim third place.
“Farmington is an extremely athletic team; my girls knew they had to minimize errors to win that game,” Woods said.
Pea Ridge finished as the third seed, which pitted the Lady Blackhawks against Brookland, No. 2 seed from the Northeast on Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Mena hosting the State 4A volleyball tournament.
Lady Blackhawk senior Cassy Porter smashes a hit over the net during the consolation match with the Farmington Lady Cardinals at 4A-1 District tournament hosted by Pea Ridge on Thursday, Oct. 18. Pea Ridge swept the Lady Cardinals, 25-10, 25-22, 26-24, to claim third place. The Lady Blackhawks qualified for state taking on Brookland Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the tourney’s first-round at Mena.