The Cabot Lady Panthers are off to the best start in the three-year tenure of Coach DeAnna Campbell.
Cabot beat Jacksonville and Lonoke in the season openers Aug. 27 at Panther Arena then knocked off Class 5A power Batesville on Thursday to improve to 3-0 this season.
Two years ago, Cabot started the season 2-1 but failed to make the state tournament. Last year, the Lady Panthers got off to a slow start, opening 1-3 before rallying to make the Class 7A state tournament.
“It was a war,” Campbell said of her team’s 25-21, 16-25, 27-25, 25-21 win over the Lady Pioneers.
In the opener against Jacksonville, Cabot won 25-7, 25-11.
Against Lonoke, Cabot won 25-12, 25-13.
In the match against Lonoke, the Lady Panthers jumped out to a 6-1 lead on the serves of Bailey Uhiren and Kaitlyn Pitman.
Lonoke tried to keep it close pulling to within two at 8-6 before Raven Gilbert served several winners to give her team a 12-6 lead.
The closest Lonoke got the remainder of the game was 22-12 before Lakin Best served two in a row to give her team the win.
In the second game, Lonoke led 4-3 and 7-6 before Gilbert served six consecutive winners, including four aces, to give her team a 13-7 lead.
Best eventually served the match-winner as Cabot won 25-13.
“These kids have come out on fire,” Campbell said of her team’s early-season success for her senior-laden group. “They are ready to win. They put their work and time in since they were sophomores. It cycled through and it cycled through. They are ready to win. They have all committed to each other that they are going to do whatever it takes.
“They are going to go all out. They go all out all the time.”
Campbell said her team, especially her seniors, have been through so much during their high school careers.
“It’s their chance and they all do it together,” Campbell said. “There is not one of them that stands out over the other. They all do it together and that is the best part. They are a great team of players.”