On Sept. 8, after their win over Lake Hamilton, Benton coach Brandy Chumley said sometimes the Lady Panthers like to put themselves into holes just so they can get themselves out of it.
Well, against Texarkana on Thursday, the Benton Lady Panthers volleyball team found themselves in one giant hole, trailing 2-1 to the Lady Razorbacks at home.
But in game four, Benton was able to resurface thanks to back-to-back kills by Kristen Ryan and Emily Morgan to tie the game. The Lady Panthers eventually took an 8-5 lead and would hold on to win game four 25-17 thanks to a huge kill by Hayley Ferguson.
The Benton Lady Panthers defeated the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 17-25, 25-17, 17-15).
“That basically sums up the night,” Chumley said. “It was back and forth all night. We’d make mistakes and they make mistakes and that’s just volleyball.
“We just happened to win it tonight.”
The Lady Panthers clinched the match in game five thanks to late kills by Ryan and an ace serve by junior Sarah Carter.
“Kristen was feeling it that last game; we were getting it to her and she was putting it down,” Chumley said. “Sara has been serving the ball well lately.
“It was hard to place the ball. We normally get a lot more points off our serves. But Texarkana is a good team and I dread going to their place.”
Benton took a 3-0 lead in game five after Texarkana hit it out three straight points. Texarkana tied, but Benton took the lead again after Ferguson and Ryan had back-to-back kills.
Leading 7-4, Texarkana was able to come back and take a two-point lead before Benton called a timeout. Trailing 12-9, sophomore Allison Reynolds tipped it in for a point and a four-hit call trimmed the Lady Razorbacks lead to one point.
Reynolds picked up another point on a block and Ryan killed it to tie the game at 14.
“We had the momentum there at the end and we finished,” Chumley said. “I don’t want to say we got lucky, but it takes some luck in this game too.
“Our girls played hard and they didn’t quit. That’s what we were telling them all night, ‘You don’t quit on balls.”
In game five, Benton had five kills and two aces and one block. Ferguson had a kill, Ryan had three kills and Morgan had a kill.
In game four, the Lady Panthers had nine kills, one ace and a block. Ryan had two kills, Morgan had two kills, junior Erin Jackson had three kills and Ferguson had a kill.
In game three, Williams had two kills, Jackson had a kill and Reynolds had a kill. In game two, Williams had a kill, Ferguson had a kill and Jackson had a kill.
In game one, the Lady Panthers had eight kills, five aces and one block. Morgan had five kills, Reynolds had a kill, Jackson had a kill and Ferguson had a kill.
“I knew they were good,” Chumley said of Texarkana. “They have quite a few seniors and they are very talented players, and very athletic. I expected to hit the ball a lot more than what they did.”
Benton improves to 4-0 in the conference after the win.
“Trying to find their holes was difficult. They covered the court really well,” Chumley said. “We had a hard time trying to figure out where we were going to go.”
In junior high action, the eighth grade Lady Panthers got two victories 25-15, 15-15 in the opener against Cabot South. Caitlyn Long led the club with five aces and Kari Sanford had four.
The freshman defeated Cabot 25-17, 25-13 as Kiyonda Fisher finished the night with four aces and two kills.
In the second eighth grade match, Essence Thomas made nine serves in a row to lead the Lady Panthers to a 25-9, 25-14 to complete the sweep.
On Wednesday, the Benton eighth grade team defeated Jessieville 25-9, 25-15 and the freshman won 25-12, 25-14. Jade Griffen led the freshman with six aces and Chassidy Colbert had five kills.
Thursday against Bryant, the eighth graders lost to Bryant Middle School 24-26, 13-25 and to Bethel 25-22, 10-25, 8-15. The freshman won 25-14, 25-8.
Braylee Landreth led the team with five kills and Ashlie Dintleman had four. Bailey Korte had four digs to lead the team.
Benton is currently leading the ninth grade conference at 2-0 and an overall record of 14-0-1.