Conway’s volleyball team has an idea of what they want to go into the open space on the Lady Cat’s banner in Wampus Cat Arena — 2009 state champions.

The Lady Cats (28-4) already captured a 7A-Central Conference title this season, earning a No. 1 seed for this week’s Class 7A state volleyball tournament in Van Buren. A first-round bye came along with the top seed, so Conway prepared for both first-round opponents, Russellville and Fort Smith Southside. Conway played both teams three times apiece this season beating the Lady Cyclones twice and losing to Southside three times. Conway plays the winner in a quarterfinal match on Wednesday at 4 p.m, in Van Buren.

"We’ve played both teams this year, so we’ve been preparing for both," Conway coach Laura Crow said. "We’ve worked on both of their weaknesses. Our girls are excited about the opportunity to add a year on the banner."

Crow was not too thrilled about having a bye, but she believes her senior-laden group can overcome the other team’s one-game jump on them.

"This is the second time that this group of girls have seen a bye," Crow said. "I don’t know if I’m happy about having that bye or not. I kind of like to get up there and play that first game to get those first game jitters out of the way."

Crow said that it’s important that her Lady Cats are mentally strong and prepared to play. 

"Before the season, when we think about our goals, there’s always a dream of winning a state championship," said Crow. "I believe that we have the talent to win one. We just have to make sure that we are mentally prepared."

This match marks the second time this season that the Lady Cats have played in Van Buren High’s gym, which Crow hopes can play to their favor.

"We’re going to give them plenty of time," Crow said. "We’re going to get down there and let them eat. We’ll give them time to get their legs under them. It’s good that we have played there before, so the girls are familiar with gym. It won’t be like us going into a new atmosphere."

Crow continued, "Their gym is just like ours. It’s big and it has high ceilings. Our girls know where the benches are and the locker rooms, so it won’t be anything, so that should help. Hopefully, it won’t make a difference even though it’s a big match."