The Benton Lady Panthers were down 24-16 to the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks in the first set of their match Tuesday night in 7A/6A South conference play at Benton Arena. The Lady Panthers would not lose the first set scoring the last 10 points of the match to win it 26-24 and propel them to a 3-0 sweep of Texarkana. After the first set, the Lady Panthers used their momentum to take the next two 25-15 and 25-19.
"That's the crazy thing about volleyball, the momentum can switch just like that," Benton Coach Brandy Chumley said snapping her fingers.
Texarkana served in the net to start Benton's 10-0 run as senior Erin Jackson had two big kills in a row to make it 24-19, and sophomore Ashlie Dintleman took advantage of a Lady Back error for a kill to make it 24-21. Senior Courtland Kaufholtz had an excellent dig to save the game, which the play ended with a Texarkana error to make it a 24-23 Lady Panther deficit, then sophomore Braxton Chumley had two aces in a row before Texarkana hit it out to give Benton the win.
"All of a sudden, Braxton started serving the ball, kept it in play, we started playing some really good defense, had some really good digs and we put the ball down," Coach Chumley said. "We just got the momentum and kept it. I'm sure [Texarkana] got their heads down."
That momentum carried over to the second game as the Lady Panthers took a 7-0 lead helped by two Xandra Lock aces and kill, and junior Allison Reynolds' kill. Between the two games, Benton had a 17-0 run.
Benton (14-4, 9-1 South) would go up 16-6 after two consecutive aces from senior Kelsey Jenkins, but labored the rest of the way before ending the game with a Kaufholtz ace. Though the Lady Panthers got the sweep, Chumley would like to start games better.
"We need to start off games stronger," she said. "We're very capable of that. I don't know if we're just tired from the weekend, but that's my goal. We need to talk more and this is the time we need to start coming together.
Benton was down 7-6 in the third set before a 4-0 run by the Lady Panthers capped by two Jackson kills from two Chumley assists gave Benton the lead for good at 10-7.
Jackson led the Lady Panthers with nine kills, followed by Reynolds' eight. Reynolds also added two assists, two blocks for a kill and an assisted block for kill. Chumley had 11 assists and two aces and senior Sarah Carter had 10 assists. Xandra Lock had seven kills and three aces.
The Benton junior varsity was also victorious with a sweep, defeating Texarkana's JV 25-11 and 25-10. The JV Panthers were up 14-0 in the second set before closing it out.
The Lady Panthers will host the Sheridan Lady Yellowjackets on Thursday for Senior Night.