Lady Mohawk Volleyball Season Underway
The Piggott Lady Mohawk volleyball program has long been considered one of the strongest in the state, and trips to the state 3A volleyball tournament have become the norm. Last year the team, in their second season under Nikki Speer, made another strong run in the state bracket, losing in the final four. And, although a talented senior class was lost to graduation, the Tribe is looking to re-load again this fall with plans for yet another state tournament bid. But, the difference this year is the location, as Piggott High School will be hosting the state tourney in late November.
"Sure, it's a lot of pressure on us to have a good season, but I think we're up for it," noted Speer, who was also a standout player for the Tribe.
The teams began the 2015 campaign on Monday evening, as they hosted non-conference Pocahontas at the Piggott High School gym.
And, although the junior high team continues to re-build the senior squad will take advantage of key returning talent, and a large group of sophomores, as they compete in the 3A-Northeast Conference.
"Our junior high team continues to improve, we do have some good athletes on the squad," Speer said of the younger team.
This year's junior high squad includes freshmen Hayley Springsteen, Harley Earnhart, Alexis Russell, Aaron Fry, Amber Trammell, Ashley Jefferies and Paige Choate and eighth graders Maggie Williams, Jordan Tate, Tessa Holcomb, Taylor Seal, Madison Rahn, Kaylee Smith, Carlie Vancil, Aliya Shultz, Shi Higdon and Kassidy Krause. Also expected to see playing time are seventh graders Claire Bellers, Destini Chase, Madison Reeves and Macey Williams.
The junior squad dropped their first match of the season, losing to Pocahontas Monday night at PHS 25-21, 24-26 and 13-15. Earnhart paced the attack with 9 for 10 serving, with one ace and four kills; while Choate was 9 of 12 from the service line, with one ace, three kills and 12 assists; Seal was 5 of 8 with three aces and a kill and Jefferies was 9 of 10 serving, with one kill and two assists.
This year's senior team benefits from quality returning talent, and new faces. Back from last year's final four team are Colby Crossfield and MaKalia Beck, who were both chosen as All-District-Beck as a junior and Crossfield as a sophomore. They're joined on the roster by seniors Molly Daffron, Holly Boyd, Peyton Wilson and Megan Johnson. This year there are only two juniors on the team, including Crossfield and the talented Grayson Murray. Rounding out the roster are Georgina Bautista, Denise Cury, Ebonite Aeriola, Hannah Powell, Lexi Herren, Ally Kilbreath, Emily Trosper, Emily Massey and Reagan Ralph.
In the season-opener Monday night against Pocahontas, the senior "B" team dropped their match then the varsity squad swept the Lady Redskins in three straight games.
Getting off to a slow start in each of the three contests, the Lady Mohawks trailed until late in the game--only to bounce back and post wins. They took the first game 25-20, the second by a tally of 25-23 and the third by a score of 25-23 as well to complete the sweep.
Checking offensive stats for the Tribe--Crossfield was 20 of 21 serving with four aces, two kills and six assists; Beck was 6 of 7 from the service line, with 11 kills and four blocks; Boyd was a perfect 14 of 14 serving, with two aces; Johnson was 7 of 8 from the line with one kill and one assist; Powell was 10 of 11 serving, with two aces and four assists and Herren was 9 of 11 serving, with one ace.
In addition to the Lady Mohawks, the 3A Northeast Conference also includes Cedar Ridge, Crowley Ridge Academy, Hoxie, Midland, Ridgefield Christian and Walnut Ridge.
"We don't take any of them too lightly," Speer said of their conference mates. "Hoxie handed us our only loss last year, we won't take them lightly."
The girls were scheduled to begin the conference season Tuesday evening at PHS, as the Lady Bobcats of Walnut Ridge were slated to visit, although final scores and stats were not available. They'll continue conference action on Thursday, Aug. 27, as CRA visits Piggott High School and on Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Tribe will host Cedar Ridge.
Following the Labor Day break, they'll return to action at Hoxie on Thursday, Sept. 10, and that weekend will travel to Harrison for the "Slam Fest" tournament. "The trip to Harrison will give us a chance to see a lot of the teams will see in the state tournament," Speer said of the tourney.
On Sept. 14, they'll visit Kennett and the following day they're slated to host Midland. On Thursday, Sept. 17, Ridgefield Christian will visit PHS and the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19; the junior team will play in a tournament at Valley View.
Late September includes a road rematch with Pocahontas on Sept. 21, and conference sets at Walnut Ridge and CRA on Sept. 22 and 24. The ASU Play-Day will be held Sept. 26, and non-conference Trumann visits PHS on Sept. 28. The Mohawks will close out September with a trip to Cedar Ridge on Sept. 29.
The junior team will play in a tournament at Brookland on Oct. 2 and 3, and all teams will host Hoxie on Oct. 6. A road trip to Midland is scheduled for Oct. 8, and Portageville will visit PHS on Oct. 12. The tournament schedule resumes on Oct. 13, with a trip to Ridgefield Christian, and the junior district will be held Oct. 17, at Cedar Ridge.
The senior team will visit Brookland on Oct. 19, for a state tourney tune-up, and will host senior night activities at Tuesday, Oct. 20 as they host the Westside Warriors. Senior night activities are slated for 5:30 p.m. with the contest set to begin at 6.
The following week the 3A state tournament will be played at Piggott High School, with the teams and bracket to be set at a later date.