Lady Lions come up short in dis­trict tour­na­ment

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - MIKE ECKELS meck­

GRAVETTE — Af­ter a big win against the Lady Ea­gles Oct. 15, the Gravette Lady Lion vol­ley­ball team faced the Num­ber 2 seed Lady Gob­lins in the se­cond round of the 4A North­west Dis­trict tour­na­ment at Black­hawk Gym in Pea Ridge Oct. 16. The end re­sult, Har­ri­son ad­vanced to the quar­ter­fi­nal round, end­ing the Lady Lions’ 2018 sea­son.

In first round ac­tion, the Lady Lions faced the Huntsville Lady Ea­gles, a team Gravette de­feated two of the three times this sea­son. In the first set, the lead switched hands sev­eral times be­fore the Lady Ea­gles gained the ad­van­tage and even­tu­ally won the first set 25-22. But that is the only set Huntsville would win dur­ing the four-set con­test.

Gravette took the court de­ter­mined to keep its sea­son alive and send Huntsville home, and that is ex­actly what the Lady Lions did. Gravette took the next three sets, 25-16, 25-15 and 25-14, to de­feat the Huntsville Lady Ea­gles three sets to one and ad­vance to the next round.

The Lady Lions, still rev­el­ing in their vic­tory over Huntsville, were ready to fight to the bit­ter end. And this game was far dif­fer­ent than the pre­vi­ous two meet­ings be­tween the two teams when the Lady Gob­lins over­whelmed the Lady Lions to win both reg­u­larsea­son con­tests.

The open­ing set went to Har­ri­son, 25-18, but the se­cond set proved to be one of the best bat­tles for the Gravette Lady Lions all sea­son long. Gravette kept pace with Har­ri­son, stay­ing no more than three points be­hind in the early stages of the match. As the con­test ap­proached the 25-point mark, Gravette tied Har­ri­son, forc­ing the match to con­tinue un­til ei­ther team was up by two. At 27 each, the Lady Lions ran out of steam and Har­ri­son dropped two straight points past Gravette to take the set, 29-27.

The Lady Lions caught the Lady Gob­lins by sur­prise in the third set, over­tak­ing and even­tu­ally win­ning the con­test, 2517. Har­ri­son came back in what would be the fourth and fi­nal set and out­lasted Gravette to take the set, 25-14, and the se­cond round vic­tory, three sets to one, to ad­vance to the next round.

The Gravette Lady Lions fin­ished the 2018 sea­son 7-11 over­all and 4-8 in con­fer­ence play. This was the bit­ter­sweet end for seven Lady Lion se­niors’ high school ca­reers. For coach Brandi Varner, many of her play­ers will be re­turn­ing next sea­son. In the mean­time, there will be lots of off-sea­son con­di­tion­ing to pre­pare for the 2019 Gravette Lady Lion vol­ley­ball sea­son.

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