LINCOLN -- The body language of Lincoln volleyball coach Brittany Engel gives away her excitement and passion in hosting a quality volleyball tournament aptly named the "Spike-Tember Block Party."
Engel stamped her foot as one of her hitters attempted to power an attack past a pair of Elkins' blockers on the front line during bracket play, which got underway almost on schedule Saturday afternoon.
"The 2022 Spike-Tember Block Party Tournament was a huge success. Thank you to all the teams who came out and participated," Engel stated in a social media post recapping the tournament, which began with pool play at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
She also expressed thanks to all the parents and players from all levels including Lincoln seventh grade, junior high, and senior high teams who worked worked throughout the day to help make the tournament run smoothly. Elkins defeated the Lady Wolves, 25-15 and 25-22, in bracket play after the Lady Wolves earned a No. 1 seed in pool play.
Prairie Grove Unbeaten
Prairie Grove went undefeated, never losing a set during the tournament, and won the gold bracket. The Lady Tigers finished No. 1 in pool play, then defeated Flippin, 25-18 and 25-13 to advance to the championship where they swept Thaden, 25-18 and 25-15. The exuberant squad didn't hesitate to celebrate their newly-won trophy insisting head coach Lindsey Biocic, and assistants Tommy Roy and Katy Chavis join them in the team photo.
Team With Longest Drive
Little Rock Hall was the team traveling the farthest (190 miles one-way) to participate in the tournament. The Lady Warriors enjoyed the trip. Among their experiences, they dined at the American Drive Inn experiencing a bit of Americana preserved in Lincoln seeing a pinball machine for the first time. Clarksville beat the Lady Warriors, 25-13 and 25-9, in bracket play.
Little Rock Hall coach Zavier Lewis appreciated an opportunity to get his girls playing in an environment outside the capital city's metro area.
"We're young, this tournament is helping us get exposed to some other styles of play and teams we don't normally see. There are people from all over here. I'm really impressed with the level of talent in this tournament," Lewis said.
He asked Engel where he might take his girls to eat and she told him the Lincoln kids like to hang out at the American Drive Inn on the main drag. The hospitality they encountered and food didn't disappoint them.
"Everybody treated us nice. The girls played hard, that's all I can ask of them. If you play hard, that's what impresses people. You never know who's watching," Lewis said.
Patriotic Valley Springs
Valley Springs senior Kaytlin Middleton snuggled under a patriotic blanket made in the pattern of the American flag showcasing vivid colors of the red, white and blue to keep her legs warm while waiting for the next match. Valley Springs' 2022 graduate Cayden Keel made the trip to support her.
Middleton, a 5-feet-9 outside hitter, created an American flag display for the Independence Day holiday this summer by putting four pallets together and painting it. The Lady Tigers lost to Thaden, 25-19 and 25-19, in bracket play.
Gentry Pioneer Spirit
Teams accommodated themselves finding space to prepare. Gentry players stretched out on the upper deck at Wolfpack Arena. The Lady Pioneers finished as runner-up in the bronze bracket. They pulled off a tough three-set win over Union Christian, rallying to win the tie-breaker, 15-13, after dropping the second set, 26-24, before losing 25-21 and 25-14 to Providence Academy in the finals of the bronze bracket.