In her 22nd season at the helm, GHS head volleyball coach Jennifer Golden showed no let down in her passion and drive to keep the Lady Bulldogs at or near the top of the state rankings in volleyball. Last week her Lady Bulldogs (23-11) ended another excellent season with a second-round loss in the state tournament held in Greenbrier. The GHS girls finished their 5A West conference schedule with a 13-1 record, dropping their final regular season match at Greenbrier. The Greenwood ladies also lost in the 2021 state quarterfinals since winning their last 5A championship in 2020.
Nine GHS seniors played their final high school match last Wednesday, October 26, against Mount St. Mary Academy of Little Rock. The Belles won an extremely competitive match, 3-2, with only 16 points separating the two teams over five sets. Greenwood defeated Greene County Tech in the opening round of the tournament, winning in straight sets, 3-0. When the dust settled, the Lady Panthers of Benton were the new 5A state champions, defeating Valley View in the finals, 3-0.
Regular Season Games
The Lady Bulldogs wrapped up their 2022 regular season schedule with matches against Alma and Greenbrier starting on October 18th at home against the visiting Lady Airedales, a 3-1 GHS win. Two days later Greenwood traveled to Greenbrier needing a win to complete an unbeaten conference record, but fell short, losing to the Lady Panthers, 3-2.
Against Alma the Lady Bulldogs won the opening set, 25-16, then dropped the second set, 19-25. But the GHS girls dominated the last two sets, winning 25-10 and 25-9. The home team pounded 52 kill shots in the match, led by Myia McCoy with 20 slams, followed by Keara Rice with eight, Lane Pressley seven, Madelynn Cassat six, Landis Luke five, and Lilly Williams with four kills. Lane Pressley also added three service aces and five blocks to lead the team.
Tori Howard had 16 digs to lead her teammates, with Myia McCoy close behind with 15 saves. Pressley had nine digs, Keara Rice eight, and Rylie Holland, Ashlyn Butler, and Carsyn Holland all with seven digs each. Lillyanna Gigerich had six digs. Ashlyn Butler had 28 assists in the match, followed by Rylie Holland with 11. Carsyn Holland was the team leader in service receptions with 11, while four others had eight each, including Riley Golden, Lillyanna Gigerich, Tori Howard, and Myia McCoy.
At Greenbrier, the Lady Bulldogs alternated with the Lady Panthers through the first four sets. The Greenbrier girls won sets one (25-18) and three (25-16), while the GHS ladies won sets two (25-13) and four (25-5) to even the match at 2-2, before the home team won the decisive fifth set, 15-11. Greenbrier then lost in the opening round of the state tournament.
Both teams were aggressive at the net with Greenwood narrowly edging Greenbrier in kill shots, 53 to 51. Myia McCoy had 18 kills for the visitors, followed by Keara Rice with 14, Landis Luke with nine, and Anna Forbus with seven. Lane Pressley and Lillyanna Gigerich had two service aces each. Forbus, Rice, and McCoy all had four blocks each.
Leading the squad in digs was Tori Howard with 27, followed by Rylie Holland with 10, Myia McCoy and Lillyanna Gigerich tied with eight each, while Carsyn Holland and Landis Luke had seven digs each and Ashlyn Butler had six. Butler also had 19 assists, right behind team leader Rylie Holland with 20. Howard had 27 service returns, followed by McCoy with 19 and Lillyanna Gigerich with 11.
Greene County Tech
Up first last week in the state tournament was a match with the Lady Golden Eagles of Greene County Tech of Paragould, seeded fourth from the 5A East conference. Heavily favored in the contest, the Lady Bulldogs took care of business early, winning in straight sets, 25-18, 25-16, and 25-21. The match was played last Tuesday, October 25th.
The Lady Bulldogs averaged about 11 kill shots per set with 34 for the match led by Myia McCoy wit 12. Landis Luke had eight slams as did Keara Rice. Ashlyn Butler had two of Greenwood’s five service aces and Landis Luke led the team with four blocks. Tori Howard had 10 digs while Ashlyn Butler had seven and Carsyn Holland six digs. Rylie Holland, Lane Pressley, and Lillyanna Gigerich had five digs each. Rylie Holland had 14 assists and Ashlyn Butler had 13 to lead their teammates, while Tori Howard (16) and Carsyn Holland (10) led in service receptions.
Mount St. Mary Academy
Last Wednesday’s second-round tournament match with the Mount St. Mary Belles was super competitive with Greenwood’s five-point, 25-20, opening set victory the largest margin of the match. But the Belles rallied to take the second set, 26-24, then lost the third set, 25-22, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth set.
But the back-n-forth play continued as the Belles pulled even at 2-2 with a 25-21 fourth set win, taking the match down to the wire in the fifth set, which also turned out to be a nail-biter, won by Mount St. Mary, 15-13, ending the Lady Bulldogs’ season. The Belles lost in the semi-finals to Valley View which then lost in the state finals to Benton. Van Buren of the 5A West also advanced to the semi-finals before also losing to Benton.
At the net the Lady Bulldogs had 51 kill shots in the match on 155 attempts or about 33%. Myia McCoy led the way with 24 slams, followed by Keara Rice and Landis Luke with eight each. Luke and Lane Pressley had two service aces each and Pressley had eight blocks as well.
Tori Howard had 25 digs to lead her teammates, while Carsyn Holland had 15, Rylie Holland 14, and Ashlyn Butler 10. Butler also had 28 assists while Rylie Holland had 13. Five GHS players reached double digits in service returns, including Howard with 20, McCoy with 18, Carsyn Holland with 16, Keara Rice with 15, and Lillyanna Gigerich with 11.
So, congratulations to the 2022 Lady Bulldogs on another successful season, and to Coach Jennifer Golden for her leadership and guidance, now in her third decade at the helm of one of the best volleyball programs in the state regardless of classification. Hats off to her staff for their hard work as well, including assistant coach Kimberly Lowe, junior high head coach Dianne Popp, and Tim Golden, husband, statistician, and bus driver.