Central Arkansas Christian’s Lady Mustangs returned to the Class 4A State Volleyball Tournament in Batesville this week as the second seed from the 4A-Central.
Lynn Brown’s Lady Mustangs (21-7) defeated Pea Ridge, third seed from the Northwest, in Tuesday’s late first-round match, 3-0 with CAC moving on to Wednesday’s 8 p.m. quarterfinal at Lyon College against Mena, No. 1 from the West, as the Lady Bearcats defeated Harrisburg, fourth from the Northeast.
“We’re pleased with where we are, especially going in (to the district tournament) as the fourth seed,” Brown, the first-year Lady Mustang head coach who served as Ken Roberts’ assistant the last four seasons, said Sunday. “We finished well.
“We’ve never had more than one win at the state tournament. We’ve been to the quarterfinals three out of the last four years. So we’re really hoping to get that one, but we want to take one at a time and see what we get.”
The rest of the bottom half of the bracket included Brookland, first from the Northeast, beat Ashdown, fourth from the West; and Shiloh Christian, second from the Northwest, beat Lonoke, third from the Central. Brookland and Shiloh Christian will face the winner of the Mena-CAC in Thursday’s 3 p.m. semifinal.
“We haven’t seen Mena this year,” Brown said Sunday. “We’ve heard they’re having a down year, but they finished first in the West. You’ve got to think they’re going to be pretty good. We’re just going to start out with Pea Ridge. We don’t know much about them, but we’re looking forward to it.”
The top half of the bracket included Baptist Prep, first from the Central, facing Booneville on Wednesday afternoon. Berryville, winner of the Northwest, was upset by hort Southside Batesville and Jonesboro Westside, second from the Northeast, lost to Fountain Lake, third from the West.
The state championship match is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
In the 4A-Central District Tournament last week, fourth-seeded CAC knocked off No. 5 Heber Springs in the opening round before beating top-seeded Lonoke in the semifinals, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23. The Lady Mustangs fell to third-seeded Baptist Prep for the third time this season in the championship match in a wild one, 27-29, 25-22, 29-31, 25-14, 15-10.
“That was the first time all year Baptist had to play five (sets),” Brown said Sunday. “So we thought we did pretty well. We feel good going into the state tournament after a match like that.”
She said junior libero Claire Vest had a great district tournament.
“Her serve-receive pass stats were great,” Brown said. “Her serve-receive was probably the best it’s been all year.”
Junior outside hitter Bailey Jones suffered an ankle injury and wasn’t 100 percent, the coach said.
“She’s been resting this weekend, so we hope on Tuesday she’s ready to go,” Brown said.