Any questions about the preparedness and expectation of this Lady Eagles volleyball team have been answered in the first week. Their opening six day run is the toughest they will have all season, and will likely be the toughest they will face until the state tournament.
They opened on the road in Russellville, a place they struggled a year ago after beating Russellville at home. On opening night, Paris likely had twice as many fans and far more players on the court that Russellville, a 6A school expecting to come out and make quick work of a team who lost a star player from a year ago.
The Lady Eagles won the opening set, but the back and forth affair saw the Lady Eagle heading to a decisive fifth set. Down 9-3 early in the fifth, Paris found its stride and made a run only they could make. They went on a tear to end the game 15-13 and sweep the night, as the JV team won their contest and the sophomore squad split a two-game set.
They had no time to enjoy the win, with another 6A opponent heading to Paris from Siloam Springs.
The home opener saw the Lady Eagles come out looking tired, and who could blame them. After dropping the first set, they again made the adjustments and refused to settle for the satisfaction of previous success. They wanted to make their own mark on the Lady Eagle dynasty, and they embraced the challenge.
Playing through fatigue and healing injuries, the Lady Eagles found a way, willing themselves through adversity, to dominate the next three sets and take down their second large classification school in as many nights.
After a sweep of Mulberry on Thursday night, the Lady Eagles headed on the road to yet another 6A opponents territory, where they would play in the Alma tournament.
They made quick work of the field, with the JV squad seeing a lot of time through the first three games. They ran undefeated through Farmington, Westfork, Elkins, Pea Ridge, and Huntsville to face host Alma in the final.
It was never close, and 6A Alma was the only team to even score 14 points against the Lady Eagles, who won the tournament championship, overwhelming the opposition.
Kaylor Braswell let her improved serve lead her to the all tournament team, along with frontline players Brynn Simmons and Ryleigh Hardwicke. With 35 kills in tournament play, Hardwicke made her presence known.
This team has grown together and will continue to improve, something 3A teams across the state are surely taking note of. If you ask them, they will tell you a litany of areas that need improvement, a quality that keeps the momentum of Lady Eagle volleyball moving in the right direction.
Paris is an unbelievable 9-0 after the first week of play, and in the second week again play a busy schedule, with early week games at Lavaca, then home against Waldron Tuesday before heading to Mens on Thursday evening.