The Starkville High School volleyball team did something for the first time this season Tuesday night.
Vivian Barksdale played the defensive speciality position, libero, and the Lady Yellowjackets took a 3-0 win over Amory in the Beehive.
"That is the first this season," SHS volleyball coach Lauren Love said. "We have used liberos in the past. (We) had the opportunity for (Barksdale) to step in at that position, give our middles some time and have a seat. I thought she did a good job."
Many high schools don't use the libero position because of the difficulty of playing the spot. Barksdale likes the position and wants to play more of it.
"I am not really an offensive player, but I love defense," Barksdale said. "It is something I have been pursuing and something I am going to keep pursuing."
The Lady Jackets are shifting to more of a defensive squad and have been working on it in practice.
"We do a lot of defensive drills," Barksdale said. "Our team as a whole are working on a defensive team. (With) me being a defensive specialist, it's a job. Our team is really supportive.
"It is kind of a comfort zone for me and then again, it's kind of pressure. It is also my comfort zone."
SHS didn't waste anytime in the first set and jumped out to a 9-0 lead before the Lady Panthers scored a point. Michaela Mills found a groove serving in the first set and finished the match with 14 aces.
"Michaela came out and served I think like nine points in a row," Love said. "You can't ask for much more than that. She came out serving tough. That is what we like â€“ tough serves."
The Lady Jackets took the first set 25-6.
The second and third set proved to be a little tougher for Love's squad, who had to fight their way back to clinch the match.
"I don't know if we had a lack of focus after a four-day weekend," Love said. "It was unfortunate that we didn't come out and play as well as we could have. We were fortunate to get a win."
SHS led throughout the second set, but Amory did not let it get out of hand. It took the second set 25-18.
Amory took its first lead of the match when it scored on the opening serve of the third set.
The Lady Panthers built their lead up to 7-3 before Love called a timeout to talk to her Lady Jackets.
"A lot of times you just have to say 'what's going on out there,'" Love said. "'What do you guys need to say to each other?' They said 'they needed to be a little more positive.' I think that was the key. We need to be positive on the court and off the court. I think when we did that, that definitely helped."
Starkville came out of the timeout and rattled off four-straight points to tie it at 7-7. The third set continued to go back and forth, but the Lady Jackets came out on top 25-19.
The junior varsity took a 2-0 decision in the early match.
Along with Mills' 14 aces, Khris Carr had five and Courtney Wilson had three. April Reese had four kills, while Carr added two. Kayla Minor had one block.
The Lady Jackets are now 9-7 for the season. They will be back in action Thursday when New Hope comes calling. They are scheduled for a 5 p.m. junior varsity with a 6 p.m. varsity match to follow.
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