Conway’s 7A state volleyball tournament run ends once again at the hands of a team from the West.
Fort Smith Southside (32-5) knocked the Lady Cats out of the tournament on Wednesday in Van Buren after winning 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12.
"I felt like we played tough," Conway coach Laura Crow said. "I felt like the girls battled all night, and they fought through to the last point."
The Lady Rebels entered the quarterfinal match with a winning streak of 21 straight matches. Southside, the fourth seed from the 7A-West, easily disposed of the fifth seed from the 7A-Central Conference, Russellville, 25-12, 25-15, 25-14, in the opening round on Tuesday. The blowout win allowed Southside coach Steve Haaser to substitute in the reserves early, so the starters could get rest before their match with the Lady Cats. Conway received a first round bye after earning a No. 1 seed by winning the Central.
"I don‘t think one team had an advantage on the other," Crow said. "It could have went to either team, really. In one game we missed four serves and you can‘t do that against a team like Southside."
This is the second time this season that the Lady Cats played in Van Buren’s high school gymnasium. Conway swept the match against the Lady Pointers earlier this season.
For Conway (24-5), Mary Dunlap led with 19 kills and six blocks. Payton Hart ended with 45 assists and Jasmyn Wilkins had five blocks. Madison Dayer and Chelsey Hess added 39 and 27 digs, respectively.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Even though the Lady Cats came up short against the Lady Rebels, they had a season to remember.
Conway went through the 7A-Central Conference and its record returned without a blemish. The Lady Cats finished 14-0 in their conference portion of the schedule, which included sweeps in 12 of their matches. There were only two teams that took one game from the Lady Cats, including preseason conference favorite North Little Rock. Crow has captured the past six out of seven conference championship.
"This was a great group of girls," Crow said. "I couldn‘t have asked for a better bunch."