Before the Conway volleyball team turns its attention to next week’s Class 7A state tournament, the Lady Cats wanted to focus on a little more serious matter.
Conway, which will take the No. 1 seed from the 7A-Central Conference into next week’s tournament, capped its regular season with a special Dig Pink match against Little Rock Christian at Wampus Cat Arena in an effort raise funds and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Dig Pink is the foundation that helps coordinate fund raising through volleyball.
"The more you can do to raise money for awareness and to help find a cure (for breast cancer), the better," Lady Cats coach Laura Crow said. "Finding a cure is very important, and eventually, we’ll find a cure."
Crow said the goal of Thursday’s event was to raise $2,000. First reports indicated that goal was reached or close to being reached. That was something Crow and the even organizers hoped to achieve during Thursday’s match, making the actual competition secondary.
"We do things like this to try to help people," Crow said. "We had a situation last year where one of our player’s mothers was diagnosed with breast cancer, so we had to deal with that. People who are special to you and close to you makes it more special."
Winning can be special, too.
Conway, which was playing in pink jerseys, swept the match, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20. With the win, the Lady Cats ended the season 24-4 overall after finishing 14-0 in conference play.
But more importantly than that, the match gave Conway one final tune-up before the postseason.
"We just wanted to work in some different stuff," Crow said. "We tried some different rotations we’re going to look at for next week. ... We have to be ready."
The Lady Cats controlled the match never trailing by more than three points. That came when the Warriors opened Game 2 with the first three points, but Conway responded with seven straight points — including three kills from Breezy Murphy and two from Amy Fletcher — to take the lead.
The third game was much closer, with six ties.
With the score even at 10, Jasmyn Wilkins’ kill gave the Lady Cats a lead they would not relinquish. Conway extended its lead to as much as 18-11, but Little Rock Christian cut into the lead and cut the deficit to as small as one twice. The second time was 21-20, but Payton Hart’s back-to-back kills sparked Conway’s final run.
Murphy finished the match with 10 kills, while Hart had 35 assists. Alexis Robertson added 24 digs and three aces, and Mary Dunlap finished with three blocks.
The Lady Cats will open tournament play against Fort Smith Southside, which has accounted for three of Conway’s four losses on the season.
"We’d like to get some revenge there," Crow said.
The Lady Cats also won Thursday’s junior varsity match, taking a 25-17, 25-6 decision.
Caitlyn Carrol and Leah Riner led with three kills each. Julia Pettit had 12 assists and two aces, while Maddie Shipp also served two aces. Brittanie Ashcraft contributed nine digs.