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Monday, July 22, 2024

Class 3A State Volleyball Championship Match Features 2020 Rematch of Paris vs Hackett

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When Resident Press began this year’s coverage of volleyball, the 3A West, and the Paris Lady Eagles, we began by recounting that afternoon on Halloween, October 31, 2020, when the much-anticipated match between the Class 2A champion Hackett Lady Hornets and Paris was held in Hot Springs at Bank OZK Arena. And at the end of that day, it was Hackett rolling to a three set sweep and decisive victory over Paris to repeat as state champions. For Paris, it was a day that many seniors this year have not forgotten and has driven the Lady Eagles through the ups and downs of the regular season to again make an appearance tomorrow in the state championship game for the second consecutive year against the Lady Hornets.

There is not much left to be said that has not already been talked about throughout this season. Hackett has again been dominant throughout their season, having swept Paris twice in the regular season. But the Lady Eagles bounced back and defeated Hackett in a dramatic five-set win in the finals of the 3A West Tournament. The Paris win sent the Lady Eagles to the state tournament as a one seed, and Hackett as a two seed. This year, Hackett had the tougher path to the finals, but the Lady Hornets defeated their opponents impressively as to tell the fans, “We are still here.” So, for Paris, the old adage of “If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man,” holds true. If Paris wants to return as a state champion at the end of the day on Saturday, they will simply have to beat a determined Hackett team.

And with all of the pagantry and build-up to tomorrow’s game, that is the bottom line. Win and you are state champions, and lose, and you will receive a runner-up trophy that will feel like a bad consolation prize for the loser of tomorrow’s match.

The Lady Eagles were impressive in their district tournament win over Hackett. Paris showed a degree of mental toughness that frankly they had not shown earlier in the year. The Lady Eagles appear to be peaking at the right time of the year, but it will take that kind of effort and determination again if Paris is to win the state championship. Paris and Hackett are clearly the two best teams in 3A, and there is not much difference between the two teams. So, it will be the intangibles, such as focus and mental toughness, that will carry the day for tomorrow’s winner. Paris should not lack motivation based on the team’s lackluster performance in last year’s final against Hackett.

Game time tomorrow in Hot Springs is 11 a.m. Both schools’ fans travel well, and there should be plenty of support for both schools. There is ample seating at Bank OZK Arena, so, get up early tomorrow and make the trip to Hot Springs. Root for your team to win the championship, and go out in Hot Springs after the game for a great lunch!

Resident Press wishes both Hackett and Paris the best of luck tomorrow. Win or lose for either team, both teams have had a great run this season, and both communities can be very proud of their teams!

See you tomorrow for what I have dubbed as “Super Fight IV!”

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