The Benton Lady Panthers' varsity volleyball team had an exhausting match against Mena at Benton Arena on Tuesday, while the Lady Panthers' junior varsity squad eased to victory defeating Mena's JV 2-0 (25-16, 25-12). Benton's varsity actually lost the first two sets 19-25 and 20-25 before fighting back to win the last three games in close fashion taking the match 3-2, winning 26-24, 25-21 and 16-14.
"I'm tired," Benton Coach Brandy Chumley said of the intense match. "We ended up with a victory. We lost the first two games and came back and won the next three. They came back and fought hard."
Chumley explained the Lady Panthers were sluggish to start.
"We just weren't passing the ball well," she said. "I just don't think we were really into the game. Erin [Jackson] was probably our MVP, our catalyst, [Tuesday] night. She started picking us up getting some blocks and kills. She started us in the right direction. We started playing better, passing better and putting the ball down."
Junior Xandra Lock led the team with nine kills and added two aces in the match, Jackson had eight kills and a block, sophomore Ashlie Dintleman had seven kills and an ace, and led the Lady Panthers with five blocks. Junior Allison Reynolds had seven kills and three assisted blocks, junior Stacy Cooper had five kills and junior Jennie Hastings had four kills and three blocks.
"They're a very scrappy team," Chumley said of Mena. "They pushed us and they didn't make a whole lot of mistakes. They're very good defensively. We had to pick it up.
"It could have gone either way," Chumley said of the match. "I'm proud of them for fighting back. It would be easy to give up, but they didn't. They stepped it up when they needed to. We have to start out stronger so we don't get in holes. The good thing is we didn't quit."
Sophomore Kiyonda Fisher had four kills to lead the JV and sophomore Braxton Chumley had three. Junior Jennie Hastings had two kills as did sophomoreTaylor Lindberg and junior Stacy Cooper, and sophomore Morgan Henry had a kill.
"I'm trying to get Morgan to be more aggressive," Chumley said. "She's so long and can jump. She stepped it up last night hitting the ball better.
"Jennie did pretty good. Taylor did really good at the net and was hitting the ball good too."
The Lady Panthers varsity and JV will get back into conference play on Thursday when they travel to Lake Hamilton to face the Lady Wolves. JV will start at 5 p.m. and varsity will follow.