By Kyle Roberts
RUSTON, La. — Ruston High seniors Hannah Rollins and Jade Smith put on a clinic for volleyball fans Thursday night en route to a combined 17 kills as the Lady Bearcats swept the Parkway Lady Panthers by final scores of 25-11, 25-16, and 25-10.
To make matters sweeter, the Ruston Sports Complex was packed full of Lady Bearcat fans, cheering their team on in the season opener.
“I thought tonight was awesome,” Ruston head coach Mandy Cauley said. “Tonight, I wanted to focus on the girls and see how they played as a team. I thought they executed very well from freshmen, to junior varsity to varsity. That’s what we want.
“We want everybody getting better as a team, and I think we executed well and played together as a team. Everyone came and celebrated, and I could tell they were having a lot of fun while they were doing what they were supposed to do.”
The Lady Bearcats would cruise through the first set, thanks in large part to opening the match on a 7-0 run, which included two kills by Smith during that stretch. Despite a late rally by the Lady Panthers near the end of the first set, the Lady Bearcats would hold on to win 25-11.
In the second set, Ruston would fend of another rally by Parkway after getting up 14-5. The Lady Panthers would get as close as 21-16 before Ruston scored the final four points of the set to win 25-16.
In the final set, the Lady Bearcats put up their most impressive performance of the night, once again led by Smith, who strung together five kills during an 8-0 run. Ruston would win the final set 25-10.
Rollins finished the night with nine kills, while Smith added eight. Both Rollins and senior Shelby Freeman finished with three blocks each, while freshman Baylor Cauley finished the night with 20 assists.
The Lady Bearcats return to action at the North/South volleyball tournament in Lafayette, La., on Saturday, Sept. 2.