PRAIRIE GROVE -- Teamwork is the name of the game for 4A-1 volleyball teams trying to polish their skills with the district tournament looming large in the background.
Prairie Grove volleyball coach Lindsey Biocic was pleased with the on-court execution in all facets of the game as the Lady Tigers swept Huntsville (25-14, 25-17, 25-15) Oct. 6.
Defensively, Prairie Grove (6-8, 4-7 4A-1) dug out some hard hits, robbing Huntsville of several kills led by senior libero Sydney Stearman on the back row. The Lady Tigers didn't hurt themselves with unforced errors, staying away from bad serves and bad hits for the most part. Their offensive game functioned well with consistent passing to the hitters.
That cohesiveness generated runs enabling the Lady Tigers to pull away from Huntsville. A 13-5 run in the first set began with Lexi Light's kill, breaking a 6-6 tie. Sophomore Kenleigh Elder and senior Kelsey Pickett each chipped in kills and senior Makinsey Parnell served an ace, stretching the lead to 13-7 and getting their coach's attention.
"That's something we've struggled with a lot on going on some runs on our side. We let other teams go on some serving runs on us, but we haven't had a whole lot of runs ourselves so that's something we've really been focusing on in practice and I think you seen it today," Biocic said.
The athletic Elder created havoc at the net. She got two good hits in one sequence and put the second away for a kill, then recorded the next two points with another kill and a block-kill.
"Kenleigh, she did a great job. She actually hit .300 today. She hit seven kills and only one error, so for a sophomore that's not bad. She did a really good job of being coachable. I kind of told her where I saw the open spot was on the court and she hit it every single time," Biocic said.
Prairie Grove's setters, Parnell (16) and Madison Hutchinson (15) combined for 31 assists sending the ball to Taci Vickery and Kennedy Conrad, who combined to spike the ball for consecutive scores running the margin up to 19-11.
After a back-row kill by Huntsville, Pickett got in the act delivering back-to-back kills on the way to a 25-14 Prairie Grove win in the first set.
The setters, they did a good job of distributing set across the net tonight. We did good mixing up our offense and I was real proud of them tonight," Biocic said. "That just kind of shows how well-rounded we can be offensively when we're on."
Prairie Grove kept the pressure on with an 8-4 run in the second set, then twice weathered a minor Huntsville comeback before closing out game two with a 5-1 run to win 25-17.
In the third set, the Lady Tigers maintained control from the start. Parnell's ace doubled up the score with Prairie Grove leading the Lady Eagles, 16-8. The right-handed Elder saw opportunity and tipped a kill over the net with her left hand, and Stearman kept robbing Huntsville by digging out hits.
"Sydney Stearman, our libero, she played really good tonight, too. She had 26 digs, which is a lot for a 3-set match," Biocic said.
Biocic liked the progress she saw as Prairie Grove recorded a team-oriented 3-set sweep in businesslike fashion by winning game three, 25-15.
"You don't want to be in this spot going, 'Oh man, we got to get things together.' We've got three more conference games left and I think we're sitting in a good spot," Biocic said.
Parnell topped the team with 6 aces while Light racked up 9 kills.