Fayetteville setter Ellie Breden had 31 assists and Spresser Hadley had 13 kills Tuesday to power Fayetteville to a 25-16, 14-25, 25-22, 25-16 win against mistake-prone Van Buren.
The Lady Bulldogs (8-11, 4-2) conclude the first round of the 7A/6A-West play Thursday against Bentonville.
"We certainly feel like 4-2 at this point, we’ll take it on the road," Fayetteville coach Jessica Phelan said. "It wasn’t a perfect match for us, but it’s a win and we’ll get ready for Bentonville."
The Lady Pointers (7-7, 1-5) won the second game and had taken a 20-17 lead in the third when Fayetteville mounted a comeback. Cassidy Ginger’s block pulled Fayetteville within one at 20-19 and Breden’s perfect set to Hadley resulted in a spike that tied the game.
The set, which was tied 12 times, was finally decided with a bit of luck. Van Buren’s service error snapped a 22-22 tie. Breden followed with a soft serve that hit the top of the net and fell over which give the Fayetteville a 24-22 lead. The point seemed to break Van Buren’s spirit.
Van Buren coach Stephanie Hill said she believes her team’s 1-5 conference record is misleading.
"I really do," she said. "We hurt ourselves too often. If we eliminate those unforced errors and we’re a different team, and that’s what’s so frustrating and so difficult to get across."
Olivia Doty’s kill helped Fayetteville build a quick 10-2 lead in the fourth game. After Van Buren crept to within three at 11-8, Fayetteville went back to work with Olivia Thomas’ block and Addison Keller’s dig helping spark a 12-3 run.
Keller finished with 22 digs and Ginger finished with six blocks.
"Being able to squeak out Game 3 was big," Phelan said. "We carried that momentum over to Game 4."
Junior Chloe Bauman led the Lady Pointers with 14 kills. Cayla Crider had six kills and Greer Rogers and Emilee Aaron finished with five kills eac.