Hotly Con­tested Game One Win Sets Tone

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — Gravette er­rors dur­ing a cru­cial junc­ture al­lowed Farm­ing­ton to pull away from a dog­fight in the first set and sweep Gravette (25-23, 25-18, 25-17) Thurs­day night at Car­di­nal Arena.

A hotly con­tested game one was de­cided by a ser­vice er­ror, which brought Farm­ing­ton to game-point; fol­lowed by a hit­ting er­ror that gave the Lady Car­di­nals a 25-23 first set vic­tory in 4A-1 vol­ley­ball ac­tion.

The win im­proved Farm­ing­ton’s con­fer­ence record at 2-1 fol­low­ing a Tues­day, Sept. 4, loss (22-25, 25-23, 14-25, 25-27) at Pea Ridge with the Lady Car­di­nals re­join­ing the 4A-1 af­ter com­pet­ing from 2014-2017 as a member of the 5A West.

“We moved back down to that 4A North­west and it’s not new to us be­cause it’s the same group of teams we had to play a cou­ple of years back be­fore we moved up,” said firstyear Farm­ing­ton coach Mike Howard. “It’s all those bit­ter ri­vals, the Prairie Groves, the Gen­try’s, the Gravette’s, Pea Ridge, Shiloh’s back in it. We got Ber­ryville, Har­ri­son. It’s the same teams we love to hate and they love to hate us so we’re ready to play.”

Gravette played well early in the first set. The Lady Lions’ ju­nior mid­dle blocker Olivia Perry gave Farm­ing­ton lots of trou­ble at the net in game-one. She used her height and reach to con­test Farm­ing­ton hits and also pound the Lady Car­di­nals lead­ing Gravette to a 7-4 lead.

Farm­ing­ton ral­lied with ju­nior Kally Stout record­ing back-to-back kills from the out­side hit­ter po­si­tion. Stout and team­mate El­iza Ball showed dex­ter­ity and pres­ence of mind fight­ing off blocks by Perry with their left hand af­ter at­tack­ing with their right hand on the same vol­ley. Farm­ing­ton stuck with their of­fense and set up a third hit to Stout, who was at last able to score a hard­fought point ty­ing the game at 7-7.

The Lady Car­di­nals surged ahead us­ing a 6-0 run to go up 10-7 and in­duc­ing a Gravette time-out. Com­ing out of the stop­page of ac­tion Gravette pounded the nets. Senior Brook­lyn Lykins be­gan a Lady Lion 6-1 run with a kill. Ha­ley Daw­son’s kill was fol­lowed by Al­lie Cal­la­han’s strong kill at out­side hit­ter that brought oohs from Gravette fans mak­ing the trip to Farm­ing­ton. Perry added a block-kill as the vis­i­tors moved back in front, 13-11, on a palm­ing vi­o­la­tion.

Stout an­swered for Farm­ing­ton by smack­ing a pair of kills be­fore Perry smoth­ered a hit for an­other block-kill at the net keep­ing Gravette within 16-13. Senior Alexis Cates stretched Farm­ing­ton’s lead to 18-13 cap­ping a 7-0 Lady Car­di­nal run and prompt­ing an­other Gravette time-out.

When play re­sumed Gravette fash­ioned a 7-1 run to over­take Farm­ing­ton. Perry dom­i­nated at the net sand­wich­ing a pair of kills around a block-kill. Gravette senior libero Kaylee Midyett served con­sec­u­tive aces to push Gravette back into the lead at 20-19.

The game was tied at 20 and 21 be­fore the teams ex­changed hit­ting er­rors giv­ing Gravette a side-out and trim­ming Farm­ing­ton’s ad­van­tage to 23-22. Farm­ing­ton was whis­tled for a vi­o­la­tion dur­ing a set which tied the game again at 23-23. Gravette served for the lead but the serve went wide. Then the Lady Lions hit the ball long and out-of-bounds giv­ing away the fi­nal two points en­abling Farm­ing­ton to take a 1-0 lead in the best of five match.

The fi­nal two sets weren’t nearly as close with Farm­ing­ton pulling away to win ga­metwo by a score of 25-18 and nearly repli­cat­ing that with a 25-17 win in game-three to com­plete a sweep.

MARK HUMPHREY ENTERPRISE-LEADER

Farm­ing­ton ju­nior Brit­tany Pittman at­tacks at the net against the at­tempted block of Gravette’s Al­lie Cal­la­han and Olivia Perry while Farm­ing­ton’s El­iza Ball and Anthea Jones stand ready to help. The Lady Car­di­nals de­feated Gravette 25-23, 25-18, 25-17 Thurs­day, Sept. 6, at Car­di­nal Arena.

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