Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

SPORTS >>Cabot dumps Beebe

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Lady Panthers improved their season record to 3-1 with a rout over the Beebe Lady Badgers Monday afternoon at the Badger Sports Arena. The Lady Panthers dominated the event, taking the win in three straight sets. Cabot held Beebe to single digits in the first two sets before putting a number of JV players on the court for the third and final set. The third set would be by far the most competitive, but Cabot pulled away in the final moments to take the match 3-0.

“We tried some different combinations during the last set,” Lady Panthers coach Terry Williams said. “We wanted to get some of the younger ones out there and get some varsity experience. I think it confused them a little bit at times, because it wasn’t the same group out there that they are used to.” Offensively, senior MB Kim Carter made her presence known very early in the contest. Carter led the team in kills, and posed an intimidating presence on the front line. A hand injury kept Carter off the court for much of her junior year, but Williams says she has returned to the floor for her senior year with a vengeance.
“Having her on the floor definitely makes a big difference,” Williams said. “She gives us a lot of size out there, and she has been hitting really well.”

The first two sets were all Cabot, as the Lady Panthers took 25-7 wins in both of the opening frames. While Carter did the majority of stuffs, Codi Smith and Katie Mantione also came away with a number of kills. The Lady Badgers fought hard to keep things even in the early moments of the second set, but Cabot quickly turned a 4-4 tie into an 8-4 advantage, and would hold Beebe to just three more points during the remainder of the set.

The third set had the look of a blowout in the early going. Senior OH Kelli Lowry started things off behind the service line for the Lady Panthers, recording three aces to help put Cabot on top 5-0. A number of junior varsity players came in at that point, and Beebe took the opportunity to briefly crawl back into the match.

The Lady Badgers also got some assistance from Cabot, with a number of Panther errors that helped them close the gap. Beebe hitters Alicia Allen and Emily Rogers gave Cabot its strongest challenge at the front. The two players led the late-game rally with a number of kills, and forced several errors from the blended Lady Panther squad. Three consecutive Cabot errors tied the game at 11-all, but Smith and Mantione returned to the floor at that point, taking Beebe’s brief advantage away. The Lady Panthers went on to take the third set 25-18, completing the straight-set sweep.

Even with the strong start to the season, Williams says she is yet to see maximum effort from her loaded team. A road loss to Morrilton stands as Cabot’s only defeat after one week of action, but she says improvement in both execution and effort will be needed as the schedule becomes more difficult.

“They say they are hungry, but their work ethic needs to improve,” Williams said. “Right now, it is just talk. They have got to cover each other perfectly out there, and that takes a lot of work.” Cabot’s next game will be next Tuesday on the road at Mountain Home in a varsity-JV double-header.