VIDEO: Bentonville rolls into state volleyball semifinals

Posted: October 26, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Bentonville High's Grayce Joyce (23) spikes the ball past Springdale High's Graycie Bohannan on Wednesday during the Class 7A state volleyball tournament in Conway.
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Bentonville High's Grayce Joyce (23) spikes the ball past Springdale High's Graycie Bohannan on Wednesday during the Class 7A state volleyball tournament in Conway.

CONWAY -- Bentonville coach Michelle Smith was slightly concerned how her team would start Wednesday's Class 7A state quarterfinal match, especially after drawing a first-round bye.

But the Lady Tigers, the No. 1 seed from the West, trailed only briefly and cruised into today's semifinals with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-14) win over Springdale High at Buzz Bolding Arena.

Bentonville’s Tymber Riley (12) hits a shot over Springdale’s Jenna Morris on Wednesday during the Lady Tigers’ 3-0 victory over the Lady Bulldogs in ...

Springdale’s Jessie Davis returns a shot against Bentonville at the Class 7A volleyball tournament in Conway on Tuesday.

"You never know, having a bye is nice but then sometimes having a bye can rattle you a little bit because you don't get those nerves out on that first day," Smith said. "So I was a little hesitant how they would react and what to say in that first game, but the girls went out comfortable, relaxed, didn't seem nervous. They played a solid three games, improving each game on errors we were making maybe the play before.

"I think it shows the maturity and the senior leadership that we've seen all year that they were very comfortable. The nerves were just pushed aside and they took care of business."

The Lady Tigers advance to today's semifinals at 1 p.m. against Fayetteville.

Bentonville (30-4-1) won its 10th consecutive match and trailed for just once in the first two sets. Senior outside hitter Tymber Riley led the Lady Tigers attack with 12 kills, while Emma Palasak added eight. The tandem of Grace Joyce and Savanna Riney were dominant at the net. Joyce led with six block assists, while Riney added four block assists and one solo.

Setter Baylee Barganier dished out 29 assists and added a team-best three aces. Tori Lowry anchored the defense with 15 digs. Zoe Schmidt led Springdale (14-12-1) with seven kills, while Lauren Bench had three aces. Libero Kaleigh Breathitt contributed a match-high 16 digs.

Springdale coach Meagan Thompson was pleased with her team's effort in the state tournaennt and the season. The Lady Red Bulldogs notched their first state tournament win since at least 2004.

"It's a huge accomplishment," Thompson said. "We ended up with more wins than losses and I don't think that's happened in quite a while either. We almost tripled our win total from last year, so that just shows how much hard work and dedication they've put into the program."

Fayetteville 3, North Little Rock 0

The two-time defending state champions had to withstand an early fight before dispatching the Lady Charging Wildcats 3-0 (26-24, 25-9, 25-16).

Fayetteville (25-11), the No. 3 seed from the West, turned back four set points and scored the final six points of the opening set to claim the momentum and rolled in the final two sets to advance to the semifinals.

The dynamic duo of Haley Warner and Ella May Powell combined to propel the Lady Purple'Dogs to victory. Warner and Powell hammered 13 kills each. Warner registered a double-double with 10 digs. Powell contributed 29 assists with a double-double of her own. The also chipped in two aces each.

Carley Galloway had a team-best 13 digs for Fayetteville, which will face Bentonville for the third time this season. The Lady Tigers have won both previous meetings. North Little Rock, the No. 2 seed from the Central, finished 22-5-1.

Conway 3, Rogers High 0

Middle blocker Kendahl Davenport controlled the net to lead the Lady Cats into the semifinals with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-15) over the Lady Mounties.

The 6-foot-2 senior led the way with a match-high nine kills and six block (five solos) to help Central conference champion Conway (30-3-1) into a rematch with Springdale Har-Ber at 3 p.m. today. Har-Ber is the last team to beat the Lady Cats, who have now won 16 in a row.

Setter Aryn Blumenberg chipped in 27 assists and 17 digs, both match-highs. Holly Stewart added 16 digs and four aces. Hannah Martin led Rogers (15-20), the No. 4 seed from the West, with four kills, seven digs, eight assists and two aces. Kassidy Wall had a team-high five kills, while Madelyn Tauai added four kills and nine assists.

Springdale Har-Ber 3, Fort Smith Southside 0

Lauren Thompson and Jayci Carpenter formed a potent 1-2 punch to help the Lady Wildcats advance to the semifinals with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-23) win over the Mavericks.

Thompson registered a double-double with a match-high 29 kills to go with 12 digs. Carpenter added 18 kills and eight digs. Setter Natalie Williams contributed 22 assists and four aces for Har-Ber, which won for the 12th straight time and improved to 27-6. Libero Kaitlyn Schemel also had a team-high 14 digs.

Hannah Holland led Southside (23-12) with 10 kills and five blocks, while Emily Bass added a match-high 21 digs. Setter Sarah Tolbert also had 23 assists and 11 digs.

CLASS 4A

Shiloh Christian 3, Brookland 1

Shiloh Christian had six players reach double figures in digs to claim a defensive struggle and advance to the Class 4A state volleyball semifinals with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19) win over defending champion Brookland on Wednsday at Lyon College.

Senior Lexi Richards rolled up huge numbers with 32 kills and 27 digs, but libero Taylor Larson anchored the defense with a team-high 38 digs.

Shiloh Christian (23-13) will now take on either Centrall Arkansas Christian at 3 p.m. today in the semifnals. The Lady Saints bounced back with a big match, after being upset in the finals of their conference tournament. They swept Lonoke on Tuesday in the opening round, but needed to fight hard to advance to the semifinals.

Shiloh Christian coach Nathan Bodenstein said it was nice to see his old team back, which dominated conference play to the tune of 60 consecutive regular-season wins.

"It was my first-ever conference loss," Bodenstein said. "It refocused them. Our defense was just outrageous tonight. Man, our serve receive was passing nails. It's exactly the way we had to play to win against a Northeast team."

Setters Hattie McDonald and Jentry Lantzsch both registered double-doubles. McDonald had 15 assists and 14 digs, while Lantzsch added 24 assists and 11 digs. Alex Bottorff contributed 12 digs and three aces.

Sports on 10/26/2017