Perhaps an indication of the tough schedule that awaits, two highly-competitive volleyball teams waged a friendly but intense battle Tuesday night at the Charleston volleyball gymnasium. The Lady Tigers took a big preseason step to the start of the 2019 season with a 3-1 victory over the Hackett Hornets.
The night featured two high school volleyball programs that are very similar in almost every respect. Both programs are relatively young but have become conference and state contenders virtually overnight. Both programs featured two of the more outstanding volleyball coaches in Arkansas; Coach Bridget Freeman of Hackett, and Coach Ryan Rachuy of Charleston. Both coaches had their teams ready to play.
On a night that was held to benefit the Arkansas Activities Association’s catastrophic injury fund, fans from both communities were treated to outstanding, high level volleyball. Junior high, senior high junior varsity, and senior high varsity matches were played. Hackett swept the junior high match with a 2-0 victory. Charleston returned with a junior varsity sweep of 2-0, and a varsity win by the score of 3-1. Every game was played at high intensity and showed both teams to be poised and ready for the start of the upcoming season that begins next week.
Charleston coach Ryan Rachuy was ecstatic over his teams’ effort and performances. “I thought we came out with good intensity. Our girls, when their energy is up, their intensity is up, our effort is there. They really came after a really excellent Hackett team and was able to take the first two sets from them. Dropped the third set, made some mistakes, had some unforced errors, our serve-receive was not near as good as it was in the first two sets, but we cleaned that up in that fourth set. We got on a couple of really good serve-receive runs and was able to pull it out.”
Commenting on the strength of volleyball, Coach Rachuy said, “I honestly believe that Hackett is going to be one of if not the top team in their conference. Coach Freeman pushes them in every camp they play in; they want to play the toughest team there. She has the same philosophy I do that you have to play tough teams.”
Charleston’s final preseason matches will take place at the 3A Preview Festival at Harding Academy in Searcy on August 24. The Lady Tigers first match will be versus Central Arkansas Christian Academy (CAC). That match is tentatively scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. “For us, it doesn’t get any easier. Some of the top teams in 3A; it just gets tougher. So you’ve got to be ready to play.”
The Lady Tigers open the 2019 season at Clarksville on Monday, August 26. First match will begin at 4:30 p.m. Based on last evening’s team performance, Coach Rachuy will have his Lady Tigers ready to play!