SHS improves unbeaten record at home
Wheeler Richardson led Starkville High School's volleyball team with 18 assists on Tuesday. (Kim Murrell/SDN)
Coming into Tuesday's match against Aberdeen at the Beehive, the Starkville High volleyball team had won all three of their previous home battles in straight sets.
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For that trend to continue, head coach Lauren Love knew her Lady Yellowjackets would have to pick up their usual pace against the Lady Bulldogs.
"We had to start our offensive attack with a serve," said Love. "We knew we had to be aggressive because Aberdeen is a great hustle team and it's hard to find an open spot on their court."
The Lady Jackets heeded Love's plan.
Starkville again defended its home court in straight sets, beating Aberdeen 25-21, 25-17, and 25-12.
"We're really proud of the girls for staying focused in a match like this," said Love. "We took care of our side. We knew the ball would be coming back at us and we didn't know how we would play having to be ready for everything."
The Lady Jackets seemed to get stronger as the match went.
Late in a back-and-forth first set with Starkville leading just 22-20, Love called for a timeout. When play resumed, the Lady Jackets went on a quick 3-1 run to take the set.
Starkville kept the momentum rolling in the second set, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead and maintaining a comfortable advantage throughout.
To clinch the match, the Lady Jackets came roaring back from a 4-1 deficit in the third set to win with relative ease, calming some of Love's fears about her team after one of Starkville's matches this past weekend at the Tupelo Volleyfest.
"This team is really coming together," said Love. "We are a better team and a successful team as long as we all play together. We had a rough patch at one match in Tupelo, so we had to make the decision that if we want to be successful, we have to play as an entire team."
Wheeler Richardson led Starkville with 18 assists to go along with eight digs, eight kills, and four aces against Aberdeen.
Elizabeth Scott racked up 12 digs and nine kills.
Khristian Carr also tallied nine kills.
Love was proud to defeat the Lady Bulldogs after going just 2-2 in Tupelo. Not to mention, the victory redeemed Starkville's loss to Aberdeen from a year ago.
"This was definitely a morale booster," said Love. "It was a slower paced practice (Monday), working on focus and being more cognitive about our decision making. So I think this shows the girls that their work ethic is improving come match time."
The Lady Jackets hope to keep things rolling on Thursday when they host Caledonia at 6:30 p.m. Starkville defeated the Lady Confederates 3-1 earlier this season in Caledonia.
Love says for Starkville to maintain its winning ways, they'll have to be ready for an opponent that plays similarly to Aberdeen.
"They're a great hustle team with some heavy hitters," said Love. "So we're just going to have to get in the gym (today) and work on our hustle and keep this level of focus and teamwork going. With Caledonia, as with a lot of teams, it's just a game of momentum. We've got to make sure it's on our side."