Lady Mohawk VB Falls at State Tourney
Lengthy bus rides are common in state tournament play. Both Harding Academy and Piggott endured a drive to west Arkansas to play in the first round of the 3A state volleyball tournament.
The experience of the Lady Wildcats proved valuable in Harding Academy's 3-1 win over the Lady Mohawks who hadn't appeared in a state tournament since 2014.
The Lady Mohawks relied on the play of Sassy Rahn as well as Jordan Tate to counterbalance the hitting and frontline of Harding Academy in Micah Fouts, Abby Duggar and Kadynn Harris.
"They were fundamentally sound on defense," Harding Academy head coach Tod Traughber said of the Lady Mohawks. "We came out with a battle plan that really worked."
For Piggott head coach Shelby Slaven, her group played well on defense, but not well enough.
"We gave up points when we should have given up points," Slaven said. "It was rough, but we stayed close most of the game."
Piggott got out of the gate with two aces from Sassy Rahn. Though the Lady Cats came back to take a two-point lead of their own, two points seemed to be the margin of the first set.
Kadynn Harris' kill near the back line put Harding Academy up 9-6.
Four of the next five points belonged to Piggott including an ace from Annalee Massey giving the Lady Mohawks an 11-10 edge.
Behind the serve of Micah Fouts, Harding Academy built a 17-14 lead, compelling Slavens to call timeout. Piggott got a sideout after the stoppage, but couldn't draw even.
A kill by Rahn did draw Piggott even at 19-19, but Harding Academy got the serve right back on the next point.
From there, the Lady Wildcats got the run they were looking for behind Harris' serve which produced a 23-19 lead including an ace.
Piggott answered with a sideout, but couldn't mount a run to match. Abby Lochala's kill down the left side finished off the 25-20 set.
Even without the first serve of set two, the Lady Mohawks got the first two points once again.
The Lady Wildcats drew even, and the back and forth began again.
Piggott managed to build a 13-8 lead pushing Traughber to call timeout. That lead was extended on a block and a kill by Piggott's Jordan Tate.
By the time Rahn's service run was broken, the Lady Mohawks built a 16-8 cushion.
That cushion held up to the end of the second set with Piggott pulling away to even the match with a 25-16 win. Tate's kill sealed set for the Lady Mohawks.
Harding Academy broke Piggott's streak of first points in a set getting the first three of set three, the first coming from Fouts' block.
A kill by Fouts put Harding Academy up 4-1 with Lochala ready to serve. Piggott broke Lochala's serve, but not before the Lady Wildcats built a five-point lead.
10-5 was Harding Academy's lead when Slaven stopped play.
Piggott got as close as three, but could get no closer and Harding Academy pulled away 25-14.
Errors plagued the Lady Mohawks in the early going of set four from lifts to long hits. Harding Academy took advantage and sped out to a 6-3 early lead.
Piggott got to within a point, but couldn't keep up with the Lady Cats' who built a six-point cushion late in the set before wrapping up the match with a block by Fouts that set up match point.
Lochala's kill gave Harding Academy the 25-15 set and match win.
The Lady Wildcats were later eliminated by Fountain Lake, and they fell to the eventual champs from Paris in the semi-finals. Hoxie was also eliminated in the semi-final round, edged by runner-up Ashdown.
With the loss the Tribe finishes their first campaign under Slaven with an overall record of 15-15, and a conference record of 11-5. With only four seniors being lost to graduation, there will be a good core of experience on next year's squad.