After Tuesday’s thriller against Paris, the Charleston Lady Tigers took a business trip to northwest Arkansas to play the Lincoln Lady Wolves. Charleston (12-2, 8-2) defeated Lincoln in three sets. The Lady Tigers were all business following the emotionally charged game on Tuesday, taking little time to defeat Lincoln and to get on the bus to return home. Charleston, understandably, looked a little flat playing on the road against the Lady Wolves who have struggled this season. The Lady Tigers accomplished what they wanted to do; avoid a let down in a road conference game following the all out effort against Paris.
After the match, Charleston coach Ryan Rachuy reflected on his team’s performance. “The first set, we did really well. Served well, got a little lax in the second set, started playing sloppy, and every time you come to a conference foe you’ve got to play. Lincoln is improving and when you come to their gym you’ve got to be ready to play. First set we did. We came out and had the right attitude and then it just kind of tapered off. Would have loved for today to had been a time where we could have got a few more girls in there in the varsity game, but we had a JV game as well so they could get some quality time out there as well.”
Charleston now has the opportunity this weekend to recover from an intense week of conference play and rest for what promises to be another big week starting Monday against non-conference opponent Lavaca. In their first meeting this season at Lavaca, the Lady Tigers defeated the Lady Golden Arrows in three sets. All three sets were very competitive, and Lavaca was missing some players at the time due to injury. The return match Monday in Charleston should be another battle as the Lady Tigers expect Lavaca to come into Charleston gymnasium ready to get revenge from the Lady Tigers.
Charleston will return to conference play on Tuesday with a home match versus the West Fork Lady Tigers. Rounding out the week will be an important road game at Waldron. The Lady Bulldogs have been steadily improving throughout the season and will be tough at home. The week will be critical to Charleston maintaining second place in the conference and holding on to the coveted second seed in the upcoming district tournament.
Thursday night’s game at Lincoln marked the fifth season anniversary of the Charleston volleyball program’s very first game at Lincoln in 2014. Perhaps a sign of what was to come in the future, the Lady Tigers went to five sets in their inaugural match before finally losing that day to Lincoln. The very next season, in just their second year, Charleston earned a birth in the state playoffs. Now, in 2019, Charleston is in position to make a run at the state tournament again. This time, it is widely believed by some key observers that if this team plays with the focus and intensity that it has this week, the Lady Tigers are capable of going deep into the state tournament. Perhaps, Charleston fans could be making a trip to Hot Springs in early November. It is certainly possible, but this special group of Lady Tigers will need to play with everything they have for the rest of the season.
They are a special group, and they are certainly capable. To use the old coaching cliche, they will have to take it one game at a time.