Regents sweeps West Memphis for second straight MAIS title

Published 11:08 am Friday, October 21, 2022

Regents volleyball won their second consecutive Division III MAIS championship on Wednesday as they swept West Memphis Christian Academy (25-11, 25-9, 25-8) in the state championship match.

The Lady Lions (19-14) dominated throughout the match—holding the Black Knights to just 28 points through three sets.

Head coach Kacie Hengler said the victory was a significant accomplishment for her team, but added that she was also proud of the way her team conducted themselves this season when faced with a difficult schedule full of difficult matchups against 5A and 6A opponents.

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“It’s definitely a great accomplishment,” Hengler said. “I think what’s more impressive is what happened through the season though. We had a very tough schedule—we competed against mostly 5A and 6A schools, and we’re one of the smallest schools in the state so to be able to compete at that level is really big.”

Junior outside hitter Bailey Ray led the way with a match-high 12 kills to go along with four digs, while sophomore Myla Meurrier posted a match-high 11 digs along with six aces and two kills.

Regents also celebrated a significant milestone in the victory when eighth grade setter Maddie Niemeyer became the first player in school history to reach 1,000 career assists.

The young setter recorded over 700 assists this season after missing most of last year due to an injury.

“It’s huge,” Hengler said when asked about the milestone. “The other assists all came from her sixth grade year so to be a sixth grader running a varsity court as a setter is very impressive… Most people may reach [1,000 assists] by their junior or senior year so to have it as an eighth grader is really special.”

Niemeyer finished with 26 assists, nine aces and four kills in the victory.

It was the second straight season that Regents has matched up with West Memphis in the first-ever Division III championship match last year.

MAIS moved to a Division I-III model for their playoffs last season after holding an overall tournament in previous years.

Regents swept the Black Knights (25-15, 25-10, 25-9) in last year’s meeting as well, and now claim the first two Division III titles in the history of MAIS volleyball.

The Lady Lions are just getting started as well, as they boast a young roster full of talented sophomores who will compete for years to come.

“It’s definitely promising considering we only have one senior this year. We have three juniors but the majority of our team is sophomores,” Hengler said. “We also won our middle school state tournament and the JV state tournament so it’s really exciting and encouraging as a coach to see the years that we have coming up behind us. We have some really bright years ahead of us.”