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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Young Lady Eagles Make Good Showing in Volleyball Scrimmage vs. Fountain Lake

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There is an old coaching saying that says something like, “If a dog is going to bite, it will do it as a puppy.” In last evening’s preseason scrimmage against the 2019 Class 3A state finalist, Hot Springs Fountain Lake, the young Lady Eagles showed a lot of bite as they battled the Lady Cobras through every point, set and match. The match showcased two of the premier high school volleyball programs in the state, and in the end, both schools came out feeling good about themselves as they continue their preparation for next week’s start of the regular season.

As with the Paris football scrimmage earlier in the week, last night’s volleyball scrimmage was the first match of 2020 that was played under the tight Arkansas Health Department regulations for fans and the administration of the match to mitigate the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus. Fans from both schools were observed wearing masks and respecting the regulations that were in place for the event.

From Paris’s perspective, the match was an opportunity to play a top program in the state and find out what kind of character, chemistry, and team leadership the young Lady Eagles have as they enter the new season. Everyone is in agreement that the team is very talented, but the lack of playing time together on the varsity level was a question mark for the team going into the match with a very good Fountain Lake team. At the end of the night, Paris fans, and their coach, Jordan Devine, came away very happy with the progress the team is making, especially in the times of reduced practice time and lack of summer tournament experience due to the pandemic.

After the match, Paris coach Jordan Devine said, “I had a great time! It was such a fun, competitive game. We really used it to look at some different lineups and people in different positions. I thought overall we played well and it showed what we need to focus on moving forward.”

Perhaps the most encouraging factor that was apparent was how the Lady Eagles reacted to the pressure and the momentum shifts of the Lady Cobras. Against a very good team, Paris showed that they had the competitive spirit to arch their backs and fight back against Fountain Lake. Both programs have a deep championship culture in their programs, and that competitive spirit of both schools was on display last night. Both schools positioned themselves for a great start to their regular seasons. For Fountain Lake, the Lady Cobras will compete in Class 4A, and it will be very interesting to see how they compete after moving up in classification. From my observation, the Lady Cobras will be just fine, and their new conference members need to pay attention to the newcomers on the block.

On another positive note, the Lady Eagles junior high team defeated Fountain Lake in three hard-fought sets. The junior Lady Eagles, along with the youth of the Paris varsity, should combine for a very strong Lady Eagles senior high team over the next three to four years. So, the future continues to be very bright for Paris volleyball.

So now the preseason preparation draws to an end, and both Paris and Fountain Lake will move into the next phase of game preparation. The Lady Eagles will open the 2020 season on Monday at Class 4A Farmington. The first match with the Lady Cardinals will begin at 5 p.m. For Paris fans who will be making the trip to Farmington, tickets will be sold at the door and do not require advanced purchase. Face masks will be required for entry. The Lady Cardinals play in a large facility, so there should be no concerns over seating capacity or being able to purchase a ticket to enter the gymnasium. Fans should have plenty of room to socially distance themselves during the matches.

For Fountain Lake, the Lady Cobras open their season on August 25 with a rematch of the 2019 Class 3A final, when they play at Little Rock Episcopal. The match should be a blockbuster for both schools, as the Lady Cobras will no doubt be set for revenge of their state final loss to Episcopal last November.

So, after a tumultuous summer full of doubt, the season has arrived, and the Paris Lady Eagles will officially begin their quest for a fifth state title in Class 3A volleyball. Resident Press wishes both the Lady Eagles and the Fountain Lake Lady Cobras the best of luck in their upcoming seasons.

And as always, Resident Press will be there every step of the way from the first game to the state final in Hot Springs. Stay with RP for the best in coverage of Lady Eagles and high school volleyball!

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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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