State Run Ends In Semis

Leen Samman

Ella McEntire, Reporter

   On Oct. 28, a large number of Southside students cheered in the crowd for their team in an attempt to make it to the final round. Throughout the busy week, the girls played in the State Tournament at Southside and Northside High School. In the semifinal round, the Mavs fell to the Har-ber Wildcats in straight sets. The ladies ended with a 22-11-3 overall season record.

   The season started with three non-conference matches. The team also participated in non-conference tournaments in Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Missouri; and Fort Smith where Southside hosted the Fort Smith Invitational in their new arena.

   “I was pumped about playing in the new arena. I feel like playing in that big gym with the lights and the scoreboard over our heads gave us a boost of confidence. I don’t know about anyone else, but that arena makes me feel like I’m playing with the best volleyball team in the state,” Junior Setter Kennedy Meadors said.

   The team continued their season with conference matches, beginning with a win over Rogers. There were many wins throughout these games. However, Senior Outside Hitter Olivia Melton claims they found their rhythm later in the season.

   “I truly believed we finally clicked when we played Bentonville at home and swept them. It took longer than we wanted to but that’s what happens when you have new girls on the team,” Melton said.

   Several players earned post-season honors. Senior outside hitter Tiffee and Meadors made the 6A All-Tournament team and Pitts was selected for the All-Arkansas Preps Volleyball Team. Tiffee also earned 6A All-State honors. Tiffee, Meadors, and junior libero Tinsley Freeman received the 6A West All-Conference 2021 honors. Tiffee, Melton, and senior defensive specialist Gracie Atchison grabbed the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Best and Brightest Award list. This award list honors senior volleyball players across the country that excelled both on the court and academically. Freeman anchored to the 2021 AVCA Phenom Watchlist. In addition to these successes, Tiffee signed to play with California Baptist University and Melton signed with Indian River State College to continue their volleyball careers.

   “All of the hard practices and times where it felt like too much definitely shaped me as a player, but the relationships that I built with my coaches and teammates is really what prepared me most for college. They are my family and that’s exactly what your college program is to you,” Tiffee said.