The two teams with the longest active win streak in the 7A-West meet Tuesday in Wildcat Arena.
Har-Ber rolls into this week following a pair of wins last week, including one against conference-leading Bentonville at home. It is the second consecutive season Har-Ber has beaten a nationally ranked team on its home floor.
“I knew we’d be young this year with different people, different personnel,” Har-Ber coach Shyrah Schisler said. “We may not be very big, but we’ve found ways to play big. You want to keep getting better and better each night before the state tournament.”
Schisler and Har-Ber now welcome in rival Fayetteville to open the final full week of 7A-West play. When the teams faced off on the Lady Wildcats’ home court last season, Har-Ber took down a then No. 2 Lady Purple’Dogs club.
Tuesday, eyes across the conference will be on the teams once again. Har-Ber (9-2 7A-West) carries in an eight-match winning streak while Fayetteville (9-2 7A-West) comes in winners of three straight. Sole possession of second place in the league will likely be on the line.
The match features the conference’s leaders in kills and hit percentage in Fayetteville’s Haley Warner and Har-Ber’s Lauren Thompson, who was awarded a plaque last week commemorating her 1,000th career kill. Warner has totaled 501 kills and Thompson is not far behind at 446.
On Thursday, Har-Ber travels to Van Buren, who it beat in three sets on Sept. 19. Thompson finished with a match-high 13 kills and Jayci Carpenter added 10. No Lady Pointer recorded more than seven kills in the loss.
— Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
Coach Meagan Thompson and the Lady Red’Dogs earned a big road win last week at Bentonville West, pushing them one match closer to locking up a state tournament berth.
Three Springdale players – KeKe Turner, Lauren Bench, Zoe Schmidt – totaled at least 10 kills in the win at West. Bench was also strong defensively, adding 13 blocks while libero Kaleigh Breathitt contributed 40 digs.
Those performances gave Springdale a season sweep of the Lady Wolverines and placed it in sole possession of fourth place with three matches to go. Tuesday, Springdale has a chance to avenge a five-set home loss to Van Buren in which it led 2-0.
Two of Springdale’s final three matches of the regular season are on the road (at Van Buren, at Rogers), but are both against teams the Lady Red’Dogs have beaten at least once this season. Springdale then hosts Fayetteville to close the week.
— Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
Bentonville doesn’t have to wait until the end of the regular season to clinch the 7A-West Conference’s top seed and a first-round bye in the Class 7A state tournament.
The Lady Tigers (21-4, 10-1) can do it this week with wins Tuesday night against Rogers High and Thursday night at Rogers Heritage.
“I feel like we are in a good situation,” Bentonville coach Michelle Smith said. “I’m comfortable with where we are mentally and physically at this point, and we’re ready for some exciting matches this week. We’re at a point where we needed to be.”
Bentonville, which will honor its 2007 state championship team during Tuesday’s home match against Rogers, currently has a one-game lead over Springdale Har-Ber and Fayetteville. The Lady Tigers will need to win two of their last three matches in order to clinch that top seed.
Bentonville will also hit the road this weekend as the Lady Tigers play in a tournament at Blue Valley (Kan.) North, an event that normally features ranked in the top 25 nationally.
“I’m not sure who we will be playing there,” Smith said. “But I’m sure we’re going to be tested in all categories.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
The Lady Bulldogs enjoyed their first weekend off in a month and should be rested for the stretch run of the regular season.
They can lock up the 7A-West’s No. 2 seed from the 7A-West by winning their final three games. Fayetteville (21-10, 9-2) travels to Springdale twice this week, taking on Har-Ber High on Tuesday and Springdale High on Thursday. Fayetteville and Har-Ber are tied at second in the league standings. Fayetteville then wraps up the season at home against Van Buren next Tuesday, Oct. 17.
This past week, the Lady Bulldogs swept Rogers High and Rogers Heritage with Haley Warner scoring a combined 30 kills. She had 18 on an 85.7 kill percentage against Heritage. That pushed her over the 500-kills plateau for the season as the senior is up to 501 total on 1,002 attempts for an even 50 percent kill percentage.
In both wins combined, Ella May Powell had 18 kills, 16 aces and 31 assists. Carley Galloway had 27 digs and 27 serve receptions. Galloway leads the team in dogs (306) and receptions (400 while Powell is tops in assists (757).
Sophomore Arainna Walter and freshman Rosana Hicks combined to contribute 12 kills and 10 blocks in both of last week’s matches. Walter leads the team with 80 blocks this season.
If the Class 7A state tournament started now, West would be one of the two 7A-West Conference teams that would be looking in from the outside.
That makes the Lady Wolverines’ last three games of the regular season even more important. West, however, can make up the needed ground with wins this week over Rogers Heritage and Rogers High.
“We’re in a tight situation,” West coach Julie Rowan said. “We need some things to fall our way in order to qualify. Obviously, we have to beat Heritage to go, and we really need to beat Rogers to go.
“I guess there’s a feeling of desperation, for sure. We just need to control what we can control, and we haven’t done that very well.”
Rowan said her team would be in a much better situation had they taken care of things on its home floor recently. West lost to Van Buren and Springdale High in matches Rowan thought her team should have won.
“We have to have everybody stepping up at the same time,” Rowan said. “We’ve struggled with consistency on our offense and we haven’t been able to fully count on some of the girls that we would like to count on.
“As the stakes get higher, what I am hoping to see is everybody step up to the plate. I guess we’ll see what happens this week.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
The Lady War Eagles came up with one win at the Paris Eagles Invitational tournament over the weekend with serveral regulars missing because of injuries and other activities.<br><br>
Rogers Heritage (5-21-1, 0-11 7A-West) picked up their lone win of the tournament 2-0 over Jessieville. Kayley McClain led the way with five kills, while Brittney Ware added 17 digs in the win.<br><br>
The Lady War Eagles host Bentonville West and Bentonville High this week.<br><br>
The Lady Mounties (11-18, 4-7 7A-West) remained in the thick of the race for one of the final spots in the Class 7A state tournament with a key four-set win over Van Buren on Thursday.<br><br>
Rogers is currently tied for fifth with three conference matches left. The top six teams advance to the state tournament. The Lady Mounties play at Bentonville High and Bentonville West this week, then host Springdale High next week to end conference play. <br><br>
Rogers pushed league-leading Bentonville to five sets in their last meeting. However, it also lost to West and Springdale in the first round of league play and those are teams the Lady Mounties are fighting with for those final state tournament spots.<br><br>