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Arkansas volleyball 3A state championship: Baptist Prep downs Hackett to prevail for second straight year

Abby Renshaw named MVP after delivering 26 kills in the win

HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS — For the second consecutive year, Baptist Prep denied Hackett a shot at the Class 3A state championship. 

The Lady Eagles (37-2-1) defeated the Lady Hornets (38-2-2), which was ranked No. 1 in SBLive’s Arkansas rankings, 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 to repeat as state champions.

“Hackett Is amazing,” said Baptist Prep head coach Krista Spoon. "We knew all year they were going to give us a great fight. We have great kids, we have great culture and everyone wanted to win (Saturday). I’m so proud of them.”

Abby Renshaw was named MVP of the state tournament with 26 kills and 6 digs while hitting .306. Ryan Rusher had 13 kills and nine digs. Rachel Jackson had 19 digs and Addie Fielder had 39 assists.

Baptist Prep's Abby Renshaw was named the MVP of the Class 3A state volleyball championship match Oct. 28, 2023.

Baptist Prep's Abby Renshaw was named the MVP of the Class 3A state volleyball championship match Oct. 28, 2023.

“This means so much to me,” said Renshaw. “All of the effort everyone put into the season paid off. We wanted a state championship and we came together as a team. All of the seniors stepped up.”

Makenzie Freeman led Hackett with 21 kills and 10 digs. Michaelyn Freeman had 20 kills and 15 digs. Prairie Vaughn had 39 assists and Lilly Oxford had 12 digs.

“I thought it was super close,” said Hackett head coach Bridget Freeman, whose team fell in the state finals for the third consecutive year. “You’ve got to give Baptist Prep a lot of credit for the way they were swinging it out there.”

The first match went down to the wire and featured 11 ties and seven lead changes. The score was tied 17-all in the second set before Baptist Prep scored the next five points and outscored Hackett 8-2 to take a commanding two games to none lead.

The third set featured 11 ties and three lead changes. Hackett took the lead for good at 22-21 when Makenzie Freeman’s attack went into the net. The match was sealed when Renshaw had a kill to end it.

Spoon said the team's schedule, featuring a split with Class 5A finalists Benton and Greenwood and Mount St. Mary while also defeating 6A Little Rock Central and Bryant, helped pay off with the title.

“That’s huge,” said Spoon. "That’s why we do that so we can be ready for this moment."

Here are three takeaways:


Renshaw, said Spoon, “can put the put ball anywhere she wants to.” Spoon said any time Hackett adjusted, she was able to move things around to where Renshaw could find the open spots to get the kills. 

In addition to Renshaw, Spoon said liked the fact her team had eight blocks and come up with them in timely fashion.


For a match that was decided by total of 10 points, the statistics showed how close it was. Baptist Prep hit .286 to Hackett’s .268. Baptist Prep had 46 assists to Hackett’s 43. Baptist Prep had three aces to Hackett’s one. Both teams had 51 digs, while Baptist Prep had a 8-4 edge in blocks.


Despite falling short in the state finals for the third consecutive year, Bridgtt Freeman was proud of the way her team competed in the finals. “We’re going to keep working hard,” said Freeman. “We’re going to give ourselves a chance to get back here. We battled hard (Saturday) and came up short.”

Photos by Tommy Land

-- Jeff Halpern | @sbliveark