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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Lady Eagles Get Big Conference Volleyball Win Over Charleston, 3-0

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All it takes is for your rival to come to town, and the energy automatically goes up. That was the case Tuesday night after the Lady Eagles, coming off a lackluster road win at Farmington just 24 hours earlier. Paris came out with great energy and played like a conference contender, sweeping the Charleston Lady Tigers 3-0 at Paris Gymnasium. With the win, the Lady Eagles (2-0, 1-0) get off to a fast start by winning their first conference match, and second overall for the young season.

Paris came out aggressively in the first set and never looked back. The Lady Tigers fought hard, forcing a close second set, but as the night went on, Charleston was unable to overcome the Lady Eagles at critical points in the match. Charleston, playing in their first match of the season, showed communication and other mistakes that are uncharacteristic of the Lady Tigers program. The match with Paris on the road was a tough opening draw in this year’s schedule. Charleston, having lost key seniors to graduation, and having battled through decreased practice time during the off season, showed good effort and desire to win, but could not overcome the critical mistakes.

Both programs are young and have few upperclassmen on the rosters. Charleston was led by junior Gracie Koch. Koch, an outstanding hitter from last year’s team, will have to lead the way this season for the young Lady Tigers. She is very athletic and talented, and this season, her leadership will be tested. My bet is she will have her team ready for the return match later in the season at Charleston.

Photo by Resident Press / Ronni Tate Young

The Lady Tigers volleyball program, who has ascended to state title contenders over the past six seasons, will take the next step in the development of their program when they leave the historic Charleston Gymnasium and move into Tiger Center this season for their home games. It will be a symbol of just how far the program has come since its inception, but for now, Charleston coach Ryan Rachuy will have to work hard in teaching and developing a varsity team that has little experience playing together on the senior high level. But knowing Coach Rachuy as I do, there is a lot of pride in the Charleston program, and they too will only get better as the season moves along. The Lady Tigers will play hard and will be a tough team to beat this season. Last night was their first game, and they will definitely learn from the experience and will come out strong with every remaining match.

And speaking of remaining matches, the Lady Tigers match against Lincoln has been moved to Lincoln due to the floor modification for a volleyball net at Tiger Center not yet being completed. Charleston will simply flip the home and away dates on their schedule with Lincoln.

For Paris, the young Lady Eagles erased any doubt that they will once again be a top contender for the conference title. Paris is extremely talented and will continue to improve and develop as the young players accrue more time playing together. By playoff time in October, this Lady Eagles team could be ready to make their next state tournament run for a potential fifth state title in the program’s history. Paris seems to have reloaded their roster for not only this year but the next four.

The Lady Eagles had today off and will resume play on Thursday against Fort Smith Southside. The match will be played at Chaffin Jr. High School. Due to limited seating and the absence of live streaming audio and video coverage of the match, many Paris fans will want to check Resident Press Friday afternoon for a recap of the match against Southside. The match will be the final contest of what has been a busy first week for the Lady Eagles. Most fans will have to wait until Monday, August 31 when the Lady Eagles travel to Booneville to play the Lady Bearcats.

So, those of you who are fortunate enough to have tickets to tomorrow’s match at Southside, be careful driving in the rain, and be loud and proud for Paris as they take on the Rebels!

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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