BY NORM BETZ –
The defending 4A State Champion Mena Ladycats played their first home game of the young season against 7A Ft. Smith Northside on Monday night. The Ladycats swept the 7A Lady Bears 3-0 to capture their first win of the season.
“It’s always good to get that first win of the season under your belt,” said Ladycats head coach Brad Lyle. “We really play some tough non-conference opponents to prepare us for the regular season.”
The Ladycats opened their season on the road and lost three straight games to 7A powerhouse Ft. Smith Southside. The Lady Rebels ended their 2014 campaign in the 7A State Semifinals.
The Lady Bears opened the first game on a 6-0 run to lead the Ladycats in their first home game of the season. Mena answered and knotted the score at 10-all behind the serving of senior Brooke Hines. Hines went on to give the Ladycats a 14-10 lead. After giving up a side out, senior Jordan Ward grabbed the ball and served for five straight point to give the Ladycats a 20-12 lead. Senior Kenzi Spurgin finished off the first game serving, giving Mena a 25-18 win in the opening game.
“We’re really playing well for where we are overall,” explained Lyle. “We’re running a totally different offense and defense this year. It’s 100% different from last year and we’re starting to get more comfortable with it.”
The Lady Bears came out fighting in the second game and led by three or four points five or six times before the Ladycats took control of the game, and ultimately won the game 25-23. Ft. Smith was actually two points away (23-19) from putting Mena away, when the Ladycats took control. Junior Sealy Thigpen sealed the Lady Bears fate as she served the final five points of the contest to give the Ladycats the victory. Senior Daryan Torix picked up right where she left off last year, dominating the play at the net, scoring 10 kills in the match.
Smelling blood, Mena held no prisoner and destroyed Ft. Smith Northside in the third and final game, 25-12. Junior Reagan Sikes severed for eight straight points to give the Ladycats a 21-10 lead. Mena went on to win the contest and secure the sweep, 25-12.
“We still have a lot to work on and improve on,” said Lyle. “But it’s always good to play at home in front of our fans and treat them to a 3-0 sweep, non-conference or conference.”
The Ladycats jumped into the first week of the season, with their collective foot on the gas pedal, if everything goes their way, they will play in 10 matches this week. Mena will host 6A Lake Hamilton on Tuesday, play in Alma on Thursday, and then host the Ladycat Classic on Saturday