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SYLVAN HILLS VOLLEYBALL | Bears head to state tournament

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears have finished their conference season right about where they were expected.

While the chance to knock off the 5A-Central’s top two teams in Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian seemed a bit daunting, it was never impossible. Even though it didn’t happen, the Lady Bears can go to Alma next week for the 5A state tournament riding high.

The Lady Bears close out their regular schedule against Conway St. Joe. They won their final two conference games against North Pulaski and Jacksonville.

“We played very well,” head coach Harold Treadway said. “We came together in that final match.”

Treadway credited the play of his back row in the success of the 10-4 conference season.

“You know people tell me how good our hitters are,” Treadway said, “but without the back row girls to pass to them, we have nothing.”

Liberos Jamia Willis and Abby Cantrell have been stellar. Willis was determined to play the position last season.

“They work so hard,” Treadway said. “When they are practicing or warming up, they are off at the corner of the floor hitting back and forth to each other.”

Both have contributed at the defensive position throughout the season.

“They are both just over five foot tall,” Treadway said. “They both compliment each other.”

Two setters that are possibly among the best to wear a Lady Bears’ uniform are Alisa Staton and Shelby Simpkins.

“Hitters don’t get the ball if those can’t pass,” Treadway said.

The Lady Bears have been nearly unbeatable serving as well. In three sets on Tuesday against Jacksonville, the Lady Bears missed just two serves.

After St. Joe this week, the Lady Bears travel to Alma for the state tournament where they will play Magnolia.

The season has been about what was expected from the Lady Bears.

Even though they are a solid three seed, a break here and there, and they have the potential to surprise some people. Maybe even themselves.

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