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Spresser lifts Fayetteville out of its early doldrums

by Paul Boyd | October 30, 2019 at 2:12 a.m.
Fayetteville’s Gracyn Spresser (right) hits the ball Tuesday in front of teammate Sadie Thompson during the Lady Bulldogs’ 25-18, 25-9, 25-8 victory over Mount St. Mary in the Class 6A state volleyball tournament in Cabot. More photos are available at

CABOT -- Fayetteville got off to a slow start in its opener at the Class 6A state volleyball tournament, but junior Gracyn Spresser stepped to the service line and everything turned in the Lady Bulldogs' direction.

Spresser served up four of her seven aces to key a 6-0 run midway through the opening set to lead Fayetteville to a 25-18, 25-9, 25-8 victory over Mount St. Mary on Tuesday afternoon at Panther Arena.

Tuesday’s Scores

Match 1 C4 Fort Smith Northside def.. W5 Rogers High, 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-12, 23-25, 15-12)

Match 2 W3 Fayetteville def. C6 Mount St. Mary, 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 25-8)

Match 3 W4Van Buren vs. C5 Cabot, 5 p.m.

Match 4 C3 North Little Rock vs. W6 Bentonville West, 7 p.m.

Today’s Matches

Match 5 W1 Bentonville vs. Fort Smith Northside, 1 p.m.

Match 6 C2 Conway vs. Fayetteville, 3 p.m.

Match 7 C1 Fort Smith Southside vs. Match 3 winner, 5 p.m.

Match 8 W2 Springdale Har-Ber vs. Match 4 winner, 7

Mount St. Mary, the No. 6 seed from the 6A-Central, held the lead early in the opening set, but a service error by the Belles tied the score at 13-13. Spresser then led Fayetteville on a 6-0 run thanks in part to three aces for a 19-13 advantage. The Lady Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed from the 6A-West, went on to win the first set and were never really challenged the rest of the way.

Fayetteville Coach Jessica Phelan thought her team was having trouble getting comfortable in its state tournament opener. Spresser agreed.

"I don't know how to explain it. We had to settle in," Spresser said. "The first 10 points we had a lot of nerves. After that, we settled in and played great."

Spresser anchored the defense with 21 digs and helped the Lady Bulldogs (27-6) settle down with her strong serving.

Phelan said Spresser's experience has been a key to Fayetteville's success all season, but was especially big Tuesday.

"I think this time of year you want to rely on kids that have been there, and this is her third state tournament," Phelan said. "I thought she played really well, and she really brought her game up to another level. That service run really helped get us some separation there. And then defensively she really kept us in a lot of points."

Fayetteville advances to take on defending state champion Conway at 3 p.m. today in a quarterfinal match.

Rosana Hicks led the Fayetteville attack with 14 kills, while Perry Flannigan added eight. Freshman setter Kennedy Phelan dished out 29 assists.

Mount St. Mary Coach Jorge Martinez acknowledged his team struggled to receive serve during the match.

"We started with great, great energy," he said. "Beginning the second set, it was a different story. I think after losing that first set, we were a little bit down. We struggled with our serve recieve, and we were out of system a lot. In the third set, we tried to change our defense, but it was too late."

Fort Smith Northside 3, Rogers 2

The Lady Bears, the No. 4 seed from the 6A-Central, scored the final three points to earn a 25-21, 21-25, 25-12, 23-25, 15-12 victory to claim their first state tournament victory in more than 10 years.

Fort Smith Northside (19-12-1) advances to take on 6A-West Conference champion Bentonville at 1 p.m. today in a quarterfinal matchup.

The Lady Bears scored consecutive points to claim the final set after trading points four consecutive times, the final time at 12-12. Elaine Logsdon's kill gave Northside the lead for good. A Rogers swing went long, and Nicole Medlin crushed a Rogers overpass to finish it.

Northside Coach Matthew Waack said it was his team's first state tournament victory since at least 2006.

Senior Quineisha Tillery led Northside with 10 kills, while Medlin added nine. Taylor Pate finished with 28 digs and six aces, both match highs.

Sophomore Ryley Martin led Rogers (12-22), the No. 5 seed from the 6A-West, with a match-high 21 kills, while Gracie Carr added 13 and Abby Harris had 12. Martin, Carr and Harris each came up with double-doubles. Martin and Carr added 15 and 11 digs, respectively, while Harris dished out 11 assists.

Cabot 3, Van Buren 1

The Lady Panthers bounced back from an opening-set loss to defeat Van Buren 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-17 to advance to today's quarterfinals.

Cabot (16-12-1), the No. 4 seed from the 6A-Central, will take on 6A-Central champion Fort Smith Southside at 5 p.m. today.

Madalyn Doolittle led Van Buren (19-14-1) with 17 kills, while Grace Doolittle added 15. Freshman Brianna Ball dished out 31 assists and added 4 blocks and 5 aces. Brooke Moore contributed 30 digs.

North Little Rock 3, Bentonville West 1

The Lady Charging Wildcats lost the first set but roared back to win the next three to claim the 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22 victory.

North Little Rock (15-13) advances to face Springdale Har-Ber in today's final quarterfinal match.

Kortney Puckett led Bentonville West (8-25) with 22 kills, while Reagan Ptacek added nine. Ally McCasland dished out 38 assists, while Baylee Lester added 10 digs.

Photo by Staton Breidenthal
Fayetteville’s Rosana Hicks (8) celebrates Tuesday during the Lady Bulldogs’ 25-15, 25-9, 25-8 victory over Mount St. Mary during the Class 6A state volleyball tournament at Cabot.

Sports on 10/30/2019

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