After a nine-match winning streak that included their first six conference opponents, the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs finally lost on the road to league foe Greenbrier on September 28th. It was the first meeting between the two schools this season and concluded the first half of the conference schedule. Greenbrier comes to Greenwood next week in the regular season finale that could decide which team wins the 5A West crown.
Head Coach Jennifer Golden and her Lady Bulldogs are 15-8 overall and 9-1 in conference play, but have won 14 of their last 16 matches, including tournament play last weekend at Conway. At that one-day event on Saturday, the GHS girls won two of three abbreviated matches, losing only to traditional state volleyball power Jonesboro. Starting this week, four league contests remain plus one more Saturday tournament at Ozark, Missouri, before the start of post-season play.
Greenwood’s first conference loss of the season came on the road against the Lady Panthers, a 3-1 defeat in a highly competitive match in which three of the four sets were determined by a total of eight points. The home team won the openly set 25-21, then lost to the visitors 25-23 in the second set. The Greenbrier girls won the third set decisively, 25-15, before edging the Lady Bulldogs 25-21 in the fourth and final set to take the match.
At the net the GHS girls had 36 total kill shots led by Myia McCoy with 10, Courtney Swilling with nine, Kylie Lawson with seven, Landis Luke with five, and Madie Bateman with four. Greenwood also had eight service aces paced by juniors Ashlyn Butler (3) and Lane Presley (2). Courtney Swilling led the team in blocks with four, while three others (Luke, Bateman, Presley) had two blocks each.
In the middle and on the back row the Lady Bulldogs accounted for 46 digs. Sophomore Tori Howard led the way with 16 saves, the only GHS player in double figures. Myia McCoy had six, Ashlyn Butler five, while Lillyanna Gigerich, Riley Golden, and Rylie Holland had four digs each. Butler (15) and Holland (12) led the team in assists while Howard (33), McCoy (17), and Golden (11) led Greenwood in service receptions.
Two days later, on the last day of September, the Lady Bulldogs began their trek through the second half of the 5A West league schedule at home against the visiting Lady Cyclones of Russellville. They also began a new winning streak with a straight set victory, 25-17, 25-18, and 25-21. It was Greenwood’s second win over the girls from Pope County this season, both in 3-0 sweeps.
Myia McCoy (12) and Kylie Lawson (11) were at the top of the kills list for the Lady Bulldogs, followed by Courtney Swilling with nine and Landis Luke and Lane Presley with five slams each. Presley also had the only GHS service ace in the truncated match. In the same vein, Greenwood had only five total blocks at the net, two of those by Landis Luke.
The Lady Bulldogs accumulated a total of 60 digs in the match evenly spread among nine players. Riley Golden had 11 to lead her teammates, followed by Ashlyn Butler with nine, Lilly Gigerich and Tori Howard with eight each, Myia McCoy and Lane Presley with six, and three others with four saves.
Ashlyn Butler and Rylie Holland led the squad in assists with 15 and 13, respectively, while Howard added five assists. The sophomore also led the team in service returns with 27, making only one error.
On October 5th the Lady Bulldogs made the short journey across the Arkansas River to Van Buren in Crawford County to take on the Lady Pointers, winning an oddly inconsistent five-set match. Van Buren easily won the first and third sets, 25-14 and 25-12, while Greenwood narrowly won the second set (26-24) before taking the fourth set handily, 25-15. The decisive five set went to the visitors, 15-11, to capture the match.
Statistically, Greenwood landed 52 spikes in the match, paced by Myia McCoy’s impressive 22 kill shots. Landis Luke added 11, Kylie Lawson eight, with Madie Bateman, Ashlyn Buter, and Courtney Swilling notching three slams each. Lane Presley added two kills. Tori Howard and Lane Presley added a pair of service aces each. McCoy and Batman had two blocks each.
Defensively, the GHS girls had an impressive 70 saves, led by Ashlyn Butler with 14 digs. Howard and McCoy had 11 digs each, while Carsyn Holland and Lilly Gigerich had six each. Kylie Lawson added five saves. Rylie Holland led the team in assists with 20, followed by Ashlyn Butler with 16.
Several Greenwood players had double digits in service receptions. Lilly Gigerich led the way with 20, along with Tori Howard with 19. Carsyn Holland had 15, Myia McCoy 13, and Kylie Lawson 11.
Later that same week, on October 7th, the GHS girls entertained the visiting Lady Eagles of Vilonia. However, the match wasn’t close with Greenwood winning in straight sets by an average of 10 points per set. The home team won 25-15, 25-14, and 25-15 for their ninth conference victory of the season. It was also the annual pink-out in support of curing breast cancer with all the Greenwood players decked out in pink jerseys.
The Lady Bulldogs needed only 36 kill shots to take the match, led by Myia McCoy with nine and Courtney Swilling with seven. Landis Luke and Lane Presley had six slams each, while Kylie Lawson had five. Rylie Holland led the team with three services aces, while Tori Howard and Ashlyn Butler had two each.
Madie Bateman led the team in blocks with five, followed by Courtney Swilling with four and Lane Presley with three. Tori Howard set the standard defensively with 18 digs, followed by Lilly Gigerich with 13 and Ashlyn Butler with 10. Rylie Holland led her teammates in assists with 14, followed by Ashlyn Butler with 13. Howard (14) and Gigerich (10) led in service receptions.
Mount St. Mary’s Academy
Greenwood’s first opponent last Saturday at the Conway tournament were the Belles from MSM’s Academy in Little Rock. The one-day event called for a best two-of-three format and the Belles managed to win the middle set, 25-20, to force a third one. The Lady Bulldogs won set one by a lopsided score of 25-13, then triumphed in the third set by an identical score to take the match, 2-1.
Along the front line, Myia McCoy had 11 kill shots and Landis Luke had nine. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs combined for 32 slams. Lilly Gigerich had a pair of service aces, while Madie Bateman and Myia McCoy had two blocks each. Tori Howard led her teammates with 23 service receptions, the only GHS player in double digits.
On defense, Greenwood had 30 total digs, led by McCoy with 10, Howard with nine, and Gigerich with four saves. Rylie Holland had 14 assists for the Lady Bulldogs while Ashlyn Butler had 10.
The Lady Badgers were next up for Greenwood, but didn’t put up much of a fight, losing in straight sets to the Lady Bulldogs by identical scores of 25-13. The GHS girls combined for 27 kill shots at the net, paced by Landis Luke with nine, Kylie Lawson and Courtney Swilling with six each, and Myia McCoy with four slams. Lane Presley had Greenwood’s only service ace.
Defensively, Greenwood’s six total blocks were spread among five players, while Lilly Gigerich (7) and Tori Howard (6) led in service receptions. The GHS girls had only 16 total digs in the match, no one player getting more than four, while Rylie Holland led the team in assists with 14. Ashlyn Butler added nine assists.
Saturday’s tournament finale featured two traditional 5A volleyball powers in the state when Greenwood took on Jonesboro, with the latter winning a closely contested match, 2-1. Almost annually, one or both schools find themselves in the state finals in Hot Springs. At Conway, they split the first two sets by identical 25-19 scores, with the Lady Hurricane taking the decisive third match in toss-up fashion, 15-13. The same two teams could meet again next month in the playoffs.
Statistically, Greenwood had 29 kill shots in the match evenly spread across the front line. Myia McCoy and Landis Luke had six slams each to lead the pack. Courtney Swilling and Kylie Lawson had five each, and Lane Presley added five kills. The Lady Bulldogs had only three services aces, one each from Presley, Howard, and McCoy.
Landis Luke showed her prowess at the net with a team-high six blocks, while Lane Presley and Myia McCoy had four each. Lilly Gigerich led the team in digs with 16, edging out McCoy with 15. Rylie Holland had 12 assists to six for Ashlyn Butler, while McCoy handled 33 serves with just one error. Tori Howard had 13 service receptions.
The Lady Bulldogs were slated to travel to Siloam Springs this Tuesday (Oct. 12) before welcoming Mountain Home to Greenwood on Thursday. The opponents for Saturday’s tournament include Jefferson City, MO, Carl Junction, MO, and Lafayette High School from Wildwood, MO.
The GHS girls will then conclude their regular season and conference schedule with matches at Alma on the 19th and at home on the 21st against Greenbrier, possibly with the league championship on the line.