SHS edged by Heritage Academy in home volleyball match

Abagail Upchurch pauses between points for Starkville High School volleyball match.

Staff Writer

It was a case of the Heritage Academy Lady Patriots seeing their chance and taking it on Tuesday night.

In a high school volleyball match between public and private school teams, Heritage Academy came into the Beehive and defeated the Starkville High School Lady Yellow Jackets 3-2 in a close and competitive outing.

SHS head coach Xavier Tillman said her team did not take care of its side of the net well enough to find consistent success against the Lady Patriots.

"We knew that Heritage Academy had some fundamental and technical skills and if we let them linger around too long, that what happened (Tuesday night) could happen," Tillman said.

Tillman said serve and receive was a weak spot for the Lady Jackets and closing out on the block would also be an emphasis in practice moving forward.

After Starkville won the first set 25-20, Heritage came back to nip the Lady Jackets 29-27 in the second.

The Lady Patriots also claimed the third set a little earlier 25-19, but SHS bounced back to win their second set of the match by the same 25-20 score.

The Lady Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set and also held a 10-7 advantage later, but they could not put away Heritage. The Lady Patriots earned a 15-13 edge in the final set and captured the match.

Jakailyn Brown had seven kills, three blocks and two aces to pace the SHS attack, while Leilah Taylor added six kills and six aces, Zoe Elder had five kills, three aces and 12 assists, Brayland Ferguson contributed four kills and five blocks, Brittany Gabbidon chipped in five kills, four aces and two blocks, Taylor Rupp had two aces and Madeline Tegt had one kill from her libero position out deep and several digs.

Despite the loss, Tillman sees her young Lady Jackets getting better each day and looks forward to the next time they get on the court.

"We have come a long way," Tillman said. "We actually had two of our varsity players out with one sick and one got hurt earlier (Tuesday). I thought we should have been able to come out on top and even though we didn't, we did some good things. I'm proud of the girls and we are going to push forward to Thursday night."

Starkville hosts the Choctaw County Lady Chargers on Thursday.