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Arkansas All-Star weekend: East picks up 4-1 win in volleyball match

East ended the match winning the last three sets.

By Jeff Halpern | Photos by Ted McClenning 

CONWAY — The East found a way to win the close sets, beating the West 4-1 (25-22, 15-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13) in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Volleyball Game at the Farris Center Friday night.

According to volleyball rules, in which matches are a best of five, the East won the match 3-1, but the All-Star game is always played to five sets to ensure everyone gets ample playing time.

“We had some jitters in the first game, but winning that game set the tone for match,” said East coach Nikki Skelton of Jonesboro.

The East led the entire opening set and was tied 18-18, 19-19, 20-20 before pulling away thanks to two attack errors by the West, along with a block by Lacie Bohannan of Benton, who was named the Outstanding Player for the East.

After a serve by the East went long and a kill by the West’s Abby Harris of Rogers closed it to 24-22, Bohannan put the game away with a kill.

In the second set, the West broke open a 5-5 game by scoring seven consecutive points to lead 12-5, thanks to kills by Madeline Freeman of Hackett, Kate Cheek of Cotter, an ace by Anna Todaro of Lavaca and a kill by Sophie Skinner of Fountain Lake.

The East managed to get to close to 17-13 thanks to two kills by Valley View’s Natalie Supine, an ace by Macie Grams of Fort Smith Northside and a block by Grams and Hadden Libelong of Valley View, but the West went on an 8-2 run to end the set thanks to three attack errors by the East,

With the exception of trailing 3-1, the East led for much of the third set, leading by 16-9 at one point before the West closed to three, 23-20. The set ended when the West failed to get the ball over the net on four attempts.

The East overcame a 11-6 deficit in the fourth set thanks to three kills by Jalie Tritt of Episcopal Collegiate, who was named the MVP of the match, which helped tie the score at 14-14.

After a block by Bohannan tied it at 17-17, a West attack went into the net to put the East ahead for good at 18-17. Bohannan had a kill to make it 19-17, and Millie Allgood of Mount St. Mary had a kill to make it 20-17.

After a kill by the West’s Harris and an ace by Paris’ Akira Robinson closed the West's deficit to 24-22, Robinson’s serve was long and the East had the match won.

In the fifth and final set, the West broke open a 4-4 tie by scoring four of the next five points. A block at the net helped secure the 15-13 victory.

“This feels great; I’d never thought I would get this,” said Tritt when referring to the MVP award. “I was not intimidated and it's great to represent the small schools.

“Our team was able to come out and stay positive and have fun and not worry about the mistakes.”