- Alma School District
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Lindley, Lady Airedales Face Pointers 10/11/21
Alma currently tied for final playoff berth
By Kevin Taylor
Kristen Lindley will step on the court Tuesday hoping to replicate what the team’s been able to do on its home court: Play with a certain vigor.
Lindley is one of three seniors playing out the last half of the 2021 campaign. Unlike last season and the one before that, the Lady Airedales are currently tied for third place in the 5A-West. If the playoffs started this week, Alma would be the No. 4 seed — by virtue of its head-to-head win last month over Van Buren.
The Lady Airedales, who beat Russellville last week, face Van Buren and Greenbrier this week.
"It has gone really, really quickly," Lindley said. "But being a senior, I feel like I have a lot of responsibilities, so I try to reach out to a lot of my teammates. I feel like I have a lot of strong relationships with the girls on the team."
Lindley played a key role in last week’s sweep of the Lady Cyclones with a series of nice serves in the second set.
“Her serve is so tough that the best passers in our league struggle with it,” Alma coach Kimberly Weaver said. “When she gets in a rhythm and she scores two or three points, that’s such a difference-maker. That’s a conversation I had with her and Mia Nichols — the team goes as they go. When they score and they bring the energy, it has this big ripple effect really more than anyone else on our team.”
In addition to her clutch serves, Lindley also contributed to Alma’s fourth home conference win in five outings with 10 digs.
Alas, the kid who picked up volleyball as a sixth-grader knows her time (and season) is getting shorter by the minute.
"It's crazy," Lindley said. "It feels like it's just been a blink of an eye. I've been playing volleyball since I was in the sixth grade, and I feel like that was just yesterday."
The Lady Airedales’ stellar play at home has mystified everyone, including Weaver.
Last week, Siloam Springs won its first and lone conference match by taking three of four sets against the Lady Airedales. Then two days later, Alma dominated Russellville, who a month earlier had beaten the Lady Airedales on its home turf in three sets.
“We struggled so much on Tuesday against Siloam Springs,” Weaver said. “That’s some tenacity and grit we’ve been wanting to see all season.”
After winning five matches a year ago, and with most of its starting lineup coming back in 2022, the Lady Airedales are on the upswing. Lindley believes Weaver is a big reason why.
"We did beat Van Buren for the first time in 10 years, so I think she is a big contribution to that," Lindley said. "I feel like we're a lot closer than some of the teams I've been on. We meditate a lot. We have these videos we watch; we're very open about our feelings. I think she's made the entire program better in that area.
"Also, I think a lot more people are excited to come to watch us play now."