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Mansfield volleyball handled pressure as defending champs to reclaim 2A crown

Coach Kylie Pyles' team captured it's second straight 2A title over Halloween weekend in Hot Springs.

MANSFIELD, Ark — Over Halloween weekend in Hot Springs, Mansfield volleyball reclaimed its status as the scariest team in the 2A by repeating as state champions. 

That's certainly worthy of making them one of the 5NEWS Teams of the Week (along with Fayetteville and Paris, who also won state titles).

The Tigers swept Life Way Christian en route to capturing their second straight title. 

For Mansfield, they faced the difficult task of getting every team's best shot this year, with the Tigers coming off an undefeated season in 2020.

"Going into this season, I told them we have a chance to succeed again," head coach Kylie Pyles said. "I told the girls, everyone is going to be out to get you. They're going to be playing the best that they can against y'all because you're the state champions."

"And I told them they had to remain focused, and that's what they did."

It helped them to have tournament MVP, junior Natalie Allison, who plays both setter and outside hitter.

"It was very exciting because we worked very hard this season, and we faced several hardships, so it was nice to see everything come together in the end and that all of our work paid off," Allison said.

Credit: Mansfield Athletics

And after coming back from Hot Springs, the Tigers got some pretty cool recognition at school on Monday.

"We have a sports announcement every morning, and one of our coaches announced that we were state champs," Allison said. "Everyone was applauding us. It was exciting because we worked very hard for it." 

Pyles added, "tons of recognition from teachers, other players, coaches in the community, all posting about it on social media. It was such an exciting thing."

And after going back-to-back, Mansfield volleyball has lofty expectations going forward, but Coach Pyles wouldn't have it any other way.

"I think since last year, it's kind of an expectation for our community for our volleyball team to do well after we won last year," Pyles said. "Now that we've done it two years in a row, I know that expectation is going to be there for the years to come."

"It's nice to know that the community has that support to our team."