The Lady Eagles continued cruising through the district play last week. In almost effortless fashion, they took out Mena at home and then hosted the former conference power Mansfield, but they were simply not on the level that Paris was accustomed to playing.
Against Mena, the Eagles made the best of a short evening, taking straight sets, playing a deep rotation. Against Mansfield, Paris was not going to allow them a chance to ever feel momentum, with the thoughts of seasons past still lingering and a tournament set to begin a few days later. Paris was violent on the attack against Mansfield, pounding kill after kill while allowing few points, primarily on errors, not Mansfield kills. There was some rotation to get the team depth ready for postseason play, but for most of the evening, it was full throttle and over very quickly.
Last Saturday, the Lady Eagle Invitational showcased some great teams from around the region. Teams want to play in Paris knowing their players will get a first rate experience and will see what quality programs look like. Paris, however, has never been built for the one-day short set tournament formats. State champion teams of the past have lost many times under the format, and with opponents ranging all the way up to 7A classifications, the Lady Eagles would have their hands full.
They made a dominant run, and in the finals, they faced another strong opponent in Green County Tech who is respected and known for their consistent program excellence. It was everything a volleyball fan wants to see, with each set driven to the brink.
The first set looked to belong to Paris before GCT made a run to take it 25-22. In the second set, Paris flipped the script, winning it by the same margin, 25-22 setting up a 15-point final set in the shortened tournament format. The Lady Eagles went toe to toe with GCT, and regulation would not be enough to settle it, as Green County tech would win in extra points 17-15 and hand the Lady Eagles only their second loss of the season.
Ryleigh Hardwicke had 10 kills in the final game, and Jenna Lowery had an incredible 20 digs to help set Riley Owen up for 31 assists.
The Lady Eagles will finish out the regular season with home games against Booneville Tuesday and Charleston on Thursday, which will be senior night for Paris.
From there, they will travel to Mansfield for conference tournament play before the state tournament in the far corner of the state in Hoxie.
Don’t miss your last chance to see the LadyEagles at home this Thursday night as they look to finish with and incredible regular season record, currently standing at 29-2 heading into their final week of play.