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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Hailey Dawson (Gravette 18) passes the ball to Olivia Perry (center) who prepares to spike the ball over the net into Lady Goblins' territory during the Aug. 30 Gravette-Harrison volleyball contest in the Gravette High School gym in Gravette.

GRAVETTE -- The gym at Gravette High School was packed to near capacity Aug. 30 as Lady Lions volleyball fans got their first look at the 2018 junior and senior varsity teams. A powerful thunderstorm with frequent lightning and heavy rain hit Gravette prior to game time but it was not enough to keep the fans away.

Gravette faced a newcomer to the 4A Northwest Conference. The Harrison Lady Goblins joined the conference this season when the Arkansas Activities Association moved several teams into different conferences at the end of the 2017-18 school year due to changes in school population.

The Lady Lions struggled to execute Coach Brandi Varner's game plan in the opening few minutes of the contest, which allowed the Lady Goblins to take an early lead in the first set. But once the front line, consisting of Olivia Perry, Hailey Dawson and Brooklyn Lykins, found their rhythm, the Lady Lions pulled together and eventually caught up with Harrison. A run late in the set by Harrison left Gravette dazed as the Lady Goblins took the set, 25-20.

After a shift in the game plan, Gravette jumped out in front and led by as much as 10 during the second set. But another run brought the Lady Goblins back into the contest to tie at 22. Coach Varner called a timeout to break Harrison's momentum. After the timeout, the score jumped back and forth with neither team getting the two-point advantage needed to win the set. Tied at 25, Harrison finally dropped two balls past Gravette to take the set, 27-25.

The Lady Lions started the third set much as they did in the previous one, jumping out in front by 10 points. With its strong 2-1 front line, Gravette was able to repel Harrison enough to take the set by three, 25-22.

It looked like the Lady Lions would stage a comeback and take the fourth set but it was not to be, as the Lady Goblins went on a five-point run to take the set, 25-19, and the match, three sets to one.

Earlier in the week, the Lions traveled to Huntsville to take on the Lady Eagles in another conference contest.

It was a very close match that eventually ended with a tiebreaker. Huntsville took sets one, three and the tiebreaker, 25-19, 25-18 and 15-9, while Gravette took sets two and four, 26-24 and 25-22. The Lady Eagles walked away with the win, three sets to two.

The Gravette Lady Lions are now 0-3 overall but this is only the second week of the season with 13 matches left to play.

Gravette will be on the road Sept. 4, traveling to Gentry to take on the Lady Pioneers. They hit the road again Sept. 6 to Farmington taking on the Lady Cardinals in a 4 p.m. match.

Sports on 09/05/2018

Print Headline: Lady Lions lose close contest on the road, at home

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