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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Paris, Charleston Win in Semi-Finals to Advance to Senior District Volleyball Tournament Final


In an awesome display of power, athleticism, roster depth, and rising new freshmen stars, the Paris Lady Eagles appeared to be in top post-season form as they defeated Mansfield in the semi-finals of the senior district volleyball tournament held at West Fork High School. Paris was never challenged in the match as they defeated Mansfield 3-0, and moved on to face the winner of the night’s second semi-final match.

Many fans from all four schools made the long drive to Northwest Arkansas to support their teams. It was a proud moment for the district. Great volleyball, great fan support, and a great job by West Fork High School in hosting the event.

Paris coach Jordan Devine was pleased with her team’s strong performance in the semi-finals. “Great game tonight. I thought we played really well. I thought we had a young one (freshman Brailey Forst) come in and put some big points up for us, which was nice to see. Probably served aggressively which is what we have been trying to do all season. I really think our serving can be a weapon for us. So, I thought we did well tonight. When asked if her team was ready for the state playoffs, Coach Devine said, “well, we’ll see.”

In the evening session, the Charleston Lady Tigers defeated a hard-charging, much improved, Waldron Lady Bulldogs team. Charleston defeated Waldron 3-1. Charleston will now play Paris in the championship final on Thursday at 7 p.m. This will be the second year in a row that the two schools have met in the district tournament championship game. The winner of the match will be crowned as senior high district tournament champions and will be a number one seed in the state volleyball tournament. The loser will become the tournament runner-up and will be a two seed in the state tournament.

Charleston coach Ryan Rachuy, was grateful to win against the strong Waldron effort, but was concerned about the mistakes his Lady Tigers made in the win. “Tomorrow we are going to come in (to practice) and tighten up some mistakes we made tonight, cleaning up our play. I think we are looking at somewhere around 15 to 18 errors in that second set, probably the same in the fourth set. In the third set we cut it (errors) down to about nine errors and we won that set 25-14. When we play volleyball the way we are supposed to we are going to be alright. But we’ve got to clean up our level of play. They (Waldron) played their butts off tonight.”

For Charleston to have a chance against Paris Thursday night, the Lady Tigers will have to be much improved over their semi-finals performance. If the team that played Paris in Charleston a few weeks ago gets off the bus Thursday night in West Fork, then it should be a classic finals match-up. But for that to happen, Charleston has to eliminate the mistakes and stay in the game mentally from the first point to the last. As with all of the teams in the tournament, it is important for each team to end the tournament playing well to have positive momentum heading into the state tournament next week. For Charleston and their heralded senior class, this is their last shot at a district tournament championship. Now is the time for the Lady Tigers to play their best game.

Mansfield and Waldron will play a consolation game Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The winner will receive a third seed in next week’s state volleyball tournament. The loser will be a fourth seed entering the state tournament.

Seedings in the state tournament that will be earned in the district tournament have a major impact on the potential strength of the first round opponent that teams will face next week in the state tournament. The higher the seed a team earns in the district tournament will result in a lower-seeded first round opponent. It will be important for all four remaining teams to win on Thursday to earn the highest possible seedings for the opening round of the state tournament. According to Max Preps, the first round state tournament schedule for the 3A West teams will be:

October 29 (First, Second, and Third Round Games Played at Paris High School)

First Round

Court 1

West #4 Seed vs. North #1 Seed, 1 p.m.

West #1 Seed vs. Central #3 Seed, 7 p.m.

Court 2

West #3 Seed vs. Central #1 Seed, 1 p.m.

West #2 Seed vs. South #3 Seed, 7 p.m.

Quarterfinal and semi-final matches will be played on October 30 and 31. The two semi-finalist will advance to the state final that will be played in Hot Springs at Bank OZK Arena on Saturday, November 2. The Class 3A final will be played at 5 p.m.

There is the potential for the River Valley to have both teams in the Class 3A final in Hot Springs. Doing so would be a statement for the River Valley after regions such as the northeast and others have dominated the tournament in the past. Paris has won multiple state titles as it has proudly represented the region over the past several years, and with the young players on its roster, Paris is in good position to continue its dominance for at least three more years. Charleston, in just its fifth year of playing volleyball, and only its fourth year in playing in the district (did not play in a district in the program’s first season), would take a monumental step forward in its program if it could reach the finals this year.

For the complete state tournament bracket, go to Max Preps online and search for “2019 Arkansas state volleyball tournament.” And as always, you can stick with Resident Press all the way through the crowning of the new state volleyball champions! Resident Press is your one stop for tournament schedules, times, match-ups and scores!

Good luck to all of the River Valley teams as they compete for a state volleyball championship!

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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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