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No. 4 Cabot takes first game before No. 2 Benton takes control of the match with three straight wins

The Panthers are 21-0

By Jeff Halpern | Photos by Braeden Botts  

BENTON — The No. 4-ranked Cabot Lady Panthers won the first game, but the No. 2-Benton Lady Panthers recovered to take the final three and stay undefeated with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-19 victory at the Benton High School Arena Wednesday night.

Abigail Lagemann led Benton (21-0) with 18 kills and 10 digs while Henley Hooks had 12 kills and 5 digs. Carys Shock led Cabot (12-6) with 12 digs and 10 kills. Jaycee Cook also had 12 digs for Cabot. 

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“In the first set, those points went by so quickly that we couldn’t get any transition going,” said Benton head coach Michelle Shoppach. “They were getting a lot of good serves and extending points and we missed five serves at one point. Normally, we miss three.”

Cabot jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first game and also led 9-3 and 12-7 before Benton started to rally and lead 18-17 when Abigail Lagemann had three kills and Isabella Lagemann and Khenedi Guest had one to put the home Lady Panthers up.

The first game went back and forth for the next few points with Benton leading 18-17, 19-18 and 20-18 before Cabot tied the game at 20-20 when Guest’s attack went long. Cabot took the lead for good at 21-20 when Laylah Reese had a kill. The game ended when McKinzee Haas had a kill to end it.

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In the second game, Benton jumped out to a 6-1 lead with Guest getting three kills during that stretch and Abigail Lagemann getting two. Benton led 10-7 before Cabot went on a 5-1 spurt and led 12-11 with Shock getting a block and Cook getting a kill. The match was tied 13-13 before Benton went on an 8-1 run to lead 21-14 with Abigail Lagemann and Guest getting two kills during that stretch. Benton stayed in control the rest of the way, winning 25-19, evening the match at 1-1.

Benton jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the third game with Abigail Lagemann getting 2 kills and 1 ace during that stretch and taking advantage of several Cabot errors. Leading 15-6, Benton went on another run, outscoring Cabot 6-1 to lead 21-7, aided by four hitting errors by Cabot. The game ended with Benton wining 25-12 to take a 2-1 lead.

“Going into the fourth game, I told them we were letting them get control and we needed to get that back,” Cabot head coach Anna Robertson said. “We did some good things but let them get on a run.”

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Abigail Lageman started the fourth game by serving Benton to a 6-0 lead with 2 aces and Guest getting a kill in the process. Cabot rallied to tie the game at 7-7 with Margaret Addison Scott getting 3 kills and teaming up with Cook for a block. Leading 16-13, Benton pulled away, scoring 7 of the next 11 points. Lexi Mahan finished the match with a kill to end the game at 25-19.

“Once we got our transition going, things went so much better for us,” said Shoppach. “We started to get some serves going.”

One day after losing 3-1 to No. 2 Conway, Robertson liked the way her team competed but credited the dominant Benton club.

“I think we competed well, but when you play a team with those type of setters, it’s tough,” she said. “You can see why they are undefeated because they don’t make a lot of mistakes and they’re very hard to match up with.”

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