In 2012, Van Buren won just four volleyball matches.
In 2013, the Pointerettes are already halfway to that win total in just two days.
Van Buren opened the season Monday with a win against Lavaca and swept Bryant 25-20, 26-24, 25-13 on Tuesday, improving to 2-0.
“Last year, we had a few girls get hurt and we never really got our lineup consistent,” Van Buren coach Stephanie Hill said. “When things start going bad, they can kind of keep going downhill. We are starting over and are a lot more healthy to start this year and able to get the girls we want out there on the floor. It’s been a lot more fun.”
Freshman 6-footer Emilee Aaron made an immediate impact, leading the team with eight kills and four blocks.
“She doesn’t play like a freshman,” Hill said. “She has come right in and helped us.”
Junior Chloe Bauman was also strong with six kills and three blocks. Senior middle Alyssa Hilmer added six kills and two blocks.
“This is the biggest team we have had in several years,” Hill said. “It really helps when you can keep a 6-foot girl up at the net.”
Van Buren pulled away from a 18-18 tie in the first game to win 25-20 and grab the momentum.
In the second game, it was tied at 24 late. Aaron made a key block at the net and Bauman’s kill for game point put Van Buren up 2-0.
The Pointerettes started the last game with a 7-0 run. Van Buren led 16-4 when Hilmer made a kill. Another kill from Aaron pushed the lead to 17-4.
Van Buren finally put the game, and match, away following long defensive rallies by both teams. After several good saves, setter Madison Klomfas pushed a deep ball back across the net that the Hornets’ back row could not handle.
“We showed a lot of effort,” Hill said. “You have to keep playing on those long points no matter what the score is.”
According to the Arkansas Activities Association’s power ratings, the game served as a designated power rating match for Bryant. Van Buren also has a tiebreaker against Bryant if they tie in the ratings when it comes time to settle state tournament berths.
Van Buren hosted Alma and Mena in a three-team match Thursday.
“We’ve got some momentum and need to keep it going,” Hill said. “I told the girls, ‘Let’s start the season 4-0!”
Van Buren def. Bryant 25-20, 26-24, 25-13.