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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Lady Panthers pounce on league foes

  • After opening the season with two consecutive 4A Central Conference wins, the Lady Panthers voluntarily darted back on the court eager to play more volleyball on Tuesday at the old Panther Den.
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  • After opening the season with two consecutive 4A Central Conference wins, the Lady Panthers voluntarily darted back on the court eager to play more volleyball on Tuesday at the old Panther Den. 
    The quick (25-8, 25-8, 25-7) sweep of the Helena-West Helena Central Cougarettes served merely as a warm-up for this confident bunch.
    Combined with Monday’s season-opening four-set win (25-17, 22-25, 25-15, 25-9) over Arkansas Baptist, Heber has  already won as many conference games this year as the program’s first two seasons combined.
    “We won two conference games last year but we were close in some others and this group is confident,” said Coach Andrea Riggs. “They are excited and I think they know what they are capable of. I think this team can win a game in the district tournament and make it to state. That is our goal.”
    Riggs said senior setter Jacklin Addison has been pivotal in jump-starting the offense for a team with numerous heavy hitters including seniors Mckinsea Volbrecht, Kaityln Bradke and Stephanie Music.
    “It’s hard to single out just one because they are all playing so well,” said Riggs. “We have changed offensive strategy with only one setter and I think that has helped. They have been consistent in almost every set. But we still have some things to work on to beat some of the better teams.”
    In Tuesday’s win over Helena, the Lady Panthers jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first set behind the serving of Volbrecht, who racked up three aces and hit three more serves that weren’t returned, while Bradke contributed a kill at the net.
    Heber maintained its eight-point advantage, taking a 14-5 lead on back-to-back kills by senior Lexi Hartman and Volbrecht, who then slammed the door on the first set with more precise serving, which led to five straight points, including one ace.
    Tied at 4-4 in the second set, Gisselle Rivera ignited a 12-0 run with four aces, while Bradke notched a pair of kills and Music also scored at the net. Music scored again off an assist from Addison and the Lady Panthers cruised from there on out, closing the set out with seven points in a row.
    The Lady Panthers pounced on the Lady Cougarettes in the third set, taking a 4-0 lead behind four hard serves from Volbrecht, who posted another ace. Following a Helena timeout with Heber leading 7-2, the Lady Panthers continued to roll as Bradke notched an ace and Music added a kill.
    Volbrecht came up with a dig that ended with a point and turned the ball over to Addison, who picked up three straight service points. Following a smooth play at the net by Volbrecht, senior Carlie Ludwig added three service points, including one ace.
    Page 2 of 2 - Heber scored its final two points on a kill by Music and serve from Volbrecht, wrapping up a three-set victory.
    The Lady Panthers, who traveled to Cedar Ridge for a non-conference game on Thursday, return home for another conference game versus Riverview on Tuesday.

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