In the much-anticipated rematch of the Hackett Lady Hornets and the Paris Lady Eagles, it was the Lady Hornets overcoming a first set loss to Paris to come roaring back with three straight set wins to defeat Paris 3-1 on Thursday night in Hackett. The win wrapped up the 3A West district tournament title for Hackett and secured the top seed from the conference for the Lady Hornets in next week’s state volleyball tournament. Paris finishes as runner-up in the tournament and will go to the state tournament as the conference’s number two seed.
After Paris hung on to win the first set, the Hackett Lady Hornets quickly took control of the match and never lost control by winning three straight sets in dominant fashion. After falling victim to some early hard kill shots in the first set, Hackett made adjustments that enabled the Lady Hornets’ hitters to “surgically” place hits around the Paris blockers and into exposed areas of the Paris defense. The Lady Eagles’ kill shots were no longer falling as the front line of Hackett was always there to challenge or block the shots. Paris was never able to adjust, and was often scrambling to survive the Hackett return shots. Hackett was in control, and Paris seemed stunned at times.
Paris coach Jordan Devine said immediately after the loss to Hackett, “We came out, won the first, and I guess we thought that it was just going to happen for us, and of course, it doesn’t happen that way. They (Hackett) adjusted well, we didn’t adjust, and that’s what happens. They beat us in the serve-receive game.”
The match was well-attended by fans of both schools and was emotionally-charged at times. A lot was at stake for both teams, including an opportunity to play as a top seed in the state tournament and earn a more favorable path to the state final.
As a result of the Hackett win, the Lady Hornets will now play on Tuesday, October 27, 9 a.m., court #2, in the first round of the state tournament. The Lady Hornets will play the #4 seed from the 3A Northwest. That opponent is unknown at this time.
As the conference’s #2 seed in the state tournament, the Paris Lady Eagles will play on Tuesday, October 27, 7 p.m., court #1, versus the 3A Northwest #3 seed. That opponent is unknown at this time.
The first three rounds of this year’s state tournament will be held at Little Rock Episcopal High School. The state final for Class 3A will be held in Hot Springs on Saturday, October 31, at 7 p.m.
In the consolation game played on Thursday at Tiger Center in Charleston, the Waldron Lady Bulldogs and the Charleston Lady Tigers played for the third seed going into next week’s state tournament. Charleston defeated Waldron 3-1 to earn the third seed in next week’s tournament. Waldron will be the #4 seed from the 3A West in the state tournament. Charleston will play their first game in the state tournament on Tuesday, October 27, 12 p.m., on court #1 against the Northwest’s #2 seed. Waldron will play on October 27, 4 p.m., court #2, against the number one seed from the northwest.
So now, all four teams from the 3A West will turn their attentions to their first round opponents in the state tournament. Coaches will be looking at video and calling their coaching contacts from other schools who have played their first round opponents at any point during this season. Both Hackett and Paris have the potential to make a deep state tournament run.
However, Hackett appears to be better-prepared at this point with respect to their starting lineup and rotation of players who will carry the fortunes of the Lady Hornets into the state tournament. Paris appears to be struggling to find the lineup and combination of players that will give the Lady Eagles their best chance to win. For the past two games, Paris has experimented with several combinations of players off the bench and it appears that the team’s chemistry is not quite where it needs to be at this point in the season. Over the next few days, Paris must come up with a lineup and rotation of players that it can trust as it will face the top teams in the state in Little Rock starting on Tuesday. The Lady Eagles are a very talented team, and if they can find the right combination of players, they certainly have the potential to make some noise next week at state.
Resident Press will have more on the first round opponents for all four teams from the 3A West who will be competing at state next week. Look for a state tournament preview story from Resident Press on Monday.
In the meantime, congratulations to the Hackett Lady Hornets for winning this year’s 3A West conference tournament and securing the top seed at state. And congratulations to all of the teams who qualified this week! Resident Press wishes all four teams the best of success as they represent the conference and pursue their dreams of a state volleyball championship.
More photos from Thursday’s game in Hackett will be available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports on Friday afternoon.
Until then, Resident Press will see you on Monday with a preview of this year’s state tournament, and then we will take to the road and will see you in Little Rock next week!