The Bryant Lady Hornets swept the Central Arkansas Christian Lady Mustangs 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-15) on Thursday in their last regular-season match before the 7A State Tournament which starts on Tuesday at Buzz Bolding Arena at Conway High School.
The Lady Hornets (12-5, 10-4 7A Central) lost to the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats 0-3 on Tuesday to finish out the conference season, but Bryant took second in the Central behind first-place Conway, earning a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye for the state tournament this Wednesday.
“We’re excited about the state tournament,” Bryant Coach Beth Solomon said. “The girls are ready to play.
“The girls are ready to regroup from our loss to North Little Rock Tuesday night and pick it back up to our level. Last night with our sweep of CAC, we weren’t even in our normal rotation.”
The Lady Hornets were without hitters junior McKenzie Rice and senior Brianna White this past week with injuries, but Solomon said they were getting some time to rest so they wouldn’t get hurt worse before the tournament.
Bryant will play the winner of No. 6 seed Little Rock Hall and No. 3 seed Fort Smith Southside at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, and Solomon said the Lady Hornets have seen both teams this year in tournament play.
“We swept LR Hall in our Spikefest tournament at the beginning of the season,” Solomon said. “They have several girls that can hit and a are a scrappy team, but we can handle them.
“We saw FS Southside at the Conway tournament and did not play our best. They seem to be similar to a Russellville or a Van Buren team. They’re also scrappy and we’ll have to step up our game, which we need to do anyway since it’s state tournament. We can handle them if we play the way we’re capable of.”
The Lady Hornets swept Russellville in the season series and swept Van Buren on the road. Bryant was down 0-2 in the its first meeting with Van Buren in Bryant before coming back to take three games in a row for the victory.
If Bryant wins on Wednesday, the Lady Hornets will play in the semifinals on Thursday at 4 p.m. The championship game will be held on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to next week and letting the entire state see the talent that Bryant volleyball has,” Solomon said.
“We’re still building our program. This is the first year that I can remember Bryant being a No. 2 seed for the state tournament.
“I’m proud of the girls. I know that we’ll get on the same page for next week. They’re excited.”