Lonoke will play host to the Lady Rabbit Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday at the Gina Cox Center.


At press time, Baptist Prep and Southside Batesville had pulled out of the eight-team event, but Lady Rabbit coach Laura Park said officials were attempting to replace them.


“We’re in contact with two teams, but we’re not sure yet if they’re going to play,” she said Sunday night. “If worse comes to worst and we get one, we may put our JV into the tournament.”


With the Lady Jackrabbits 8-2 overall and 6-0 in 1A-4A District 9 play — all by 3-0 sweeps — Lonoke looks to such tournament fields to provide much-needed competition.


“We will do the Fountain Lake tournament in a couple of weeks,” Park said. “That’s usually got some good teams in it. We try to pick up as many upper-level teams as we can where we can because our combined conference is not as challenging as it needs to be.”


In fact, many district opponents have not reached double digits in a set against Lonoke.


“I think we are a little bit better than we’ve been,” Park said. “We’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of good players. If one’s down, I’ve got a decent bunch on the bench that can step in and pick up for them.”


The Lady Rabbits went 3-0 last week, beating Baptist Prep, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20; KIPP Delta, 25-5, 25-11, 25-6; and Jacksonville Lighthouse, 25-3, 25-2, 25-7.


“Baptist was a great match,” Park said. “I would play Baptist twice a week all season preparing for state if I could. The coach that was there last few years, Jaclyn Langston, did a good job improving them every year, and with Krista Spoon coming in this year, she has continued that. She’s built on what Jaclyn started. They are a very good team.”


Park called that win her team’s best of the season.


She praised Maddie Pool’s play, among others.


“Maddie had a great game blocking and with kills,” she said. “Some were just smart placements of a tip. But it was a team effort. Everybody played well and everybody played hard. The girls loved that match. They were fired up.”


Her team is getting better, she said.


“Not at the rate we’d like to, though, because we don’t have consistency in the matches we play,” she said.


The Lady Rabbits, who played Marianna Lee on Tuesday, will visit Central Arkansas Christian on Monday. The Lady Mustangs (10-2 at press time) prevailed in the first meeting in four sets. Baptist Prep beat CAC in straight sets earlier this month.


Also upcoming for Lonoke will be three teams the Lady Rabbits swept in the earlier matchups — LISA Academy (2-3 at press time) on Tuesday, Sept. 26; at Episcopal Collegiate (4-7) on Thursday, Sept. 28; and Helena-West Helena Central (3-4) on Tuesday, Oct. 3.