With high hopes of making the 4A state volleyball tournament, the Maumelle Hornets’ expectations were dashed in the first round of the 4A-Central conference tournament last week.

After previously defeating Lonoke twice in the regular season, the Hornets suffered a 25-19, 20-25, 25-19, 20-25, 8-15 loss in the tournament last week. The defeat ended Maumelle’s season.

"It’s hard to beat someone three times," Maumelle Coach Jayme McCoy said. "We fought hard but just couldn’t pull out the win."

Although they tied for second in the conference, the Hornets went into the tournament as the third seed. Splitting with Marianna, Maumelle was the third seed because the Hornets beat Marianna in four sets but loss in three. A second seed would have guaranteed a spot in the state tournament.

Lonoke is a senior-laden team while McCoy started three sophomores. That inexperience seemed to play a part in the loss.

"Basically, they (Lonoke) wanted it that bad," McCoy said. "We had quite a few bad calls. I’m not saying that caused us to lose but it took the wind out of our sails. We let the officials get into our heads and got beat the fifth game."

Knowing the seniors wanted to make the state tournament, McCoy said the underclassmen apologized to the seniors for the season not turning out the way they wanted. After the match, McCoy talked to the seniors long and hard about how much they will be missed. In her six years of coaching, McCoy says this season was the best. With the core of her team returning, the future is bright.

"I told the rest of the team that not only will we miss the four seniors, but we’ve got great ones coming back," she said. "With the core we have coming back, we will be just fine."

Sophomore Desire Smith (6-foot-0 middle blocker) made the all-state team and is the first player for McCoy to do so. She also was named all-conference and to the conference all-tournament team. Senior Meyonsha Riddles (5-9 middle blocker) also received all-conference honors.