Central Arkansas Christian completed the first half of the 4A-Central round-robin with a 6-1 record to lead the conference standings.

Cade Smith’s Lady Mustangs knocked off Marianna in three games last week and added a non-conference win over Jessieville to improve to 10-4 overall. They started the second half of the conference schedule Monday against Heber Springs. Other matches this week include Pulaski Robinson on Tuesday and at Lonoke on Thursday. They’ll play host to Sylvan Hills in a non-conference match Monday, Oct. 1.

Marianna, Maumelle and Batesville Southside finished the first half 5-2, having beaten each other. The top two teams will receive a bye to the semifinals of the district tournament, thus ensuring a berth in the Class 4A State Tournament.

"We need to at least try to repeat that record or do better in the second half," Smith said.

The last four years in Class 5A appear to have paid dividends for CAC.

"For sure, our program is stronger now after playing that competition night-in and night-out," Smith said. "We’ve got a lot more girls playing club volleyball now, and that makes a big difference. We may have the best girl to ever come through our program in Logan Tolbert. That makes a difference."

Tolbert is a senior middle blocker.

Smith said despite several three-game sweeps, his team had continued to seek improvement.

"They’ve been good about playing really hard," he said. "Even in matches we’re supposed to win easily, they’re still playing hard."