SHS beats Choctaw County in volleyball, both teams see progress

Staff Writer

At the end of a Thursday night volleyball match at the Beehive, Starkville came out on top over Choctaw County.

The Lady Yellow Jackets topped the Lady Chargers 3-1. However by the time the lights in the gym went off, both teams’ coaches came away feeling good about their respective squads.

“I definitely feel like this was the best that we have played so far this season,” Choctaw County head coach Miranda Worrell said.

Worrell’s counterpart, Starkville head coach Xavier Tillman saw similar progress.

“This really showed the growth of our team and even the conversations in our huddle – the conversations were different,” Tillman said.

Tillman saw her Lady Jackets rebound after a tough loss at Heritage Academy on Tuesday night. Starkville came out strong on Thursday with a lopsided win in the opening set, sprinting out to an early 7-1 advantage before rolling to the 25-13 win. Choctaw County tied things up with a 25-13 win of its own in the second set before Starkville responded with back-to-back 25-15 victories in the third and fourth sets to capture the match.

Jakailyn Brown, Zoe Elder and Madeline Tegt led the way for the Lady Jackets. Brown had a team-high three aces in the game to go along with a squad-leading four blocks. Elder led Starkville in both kills (five) and assists (16). Tegt paced the Jackets with 17 digs.

The most important statistic of all though for SHS was the tally that went into the win column. Tillman sat back with pride as she saw the fruits of her team’s development over the last couple of days.

“The last game we fell short because we didn’t take care of our side,” Tillman said. “I think the girls were determined (Thursday) to make sure we didn’t have the same outcome they had Tuesday. We really felt like we could have won that game Tuesday night, so (Thursday) I think we were determined not to let that happen again.”

Tillman saw a group of Lady Jackets lifting each other up even in the moments when things didn’t go so well.

“They’re talking about picking each other up and let’s take care of our side,” Tillman said. “It’s refreshing to see and good to see that the girls are growing in that aspect and understanding that it’s a team sport. Everybody is needed and we can’t play selfish ball. If one of us plays selfish, it affects the whole team.”

Worrell and the Lady Chargers didn’t get the positive reinforcement of a win, but Choctaw County did get to leave Starkville feeling optimistic. The Chargers played well at times and even dominated the second set to tie the match at a set apiece at the time.

“Once we get on top like we did in the second set, we have more confidence,” Worrell said. “We got on top and we were able to stay on top and that boosted us up and we played better that set because we were on top the whole time.”

The good times wouldn’t last, but they gave Worrell and the Chargers hope for the future.

“I saw some things where I was like, ‘Wow! We just did that!'" Worrell said. “So I really think we have improved a lot skill-wise. We just have to not get down on ourselves.”

The Lady Chargers (3-7) will look to keep on making improvements this Saturday when they participate in tournament action at Hartfield Academy.

Starkville (4-5) will return to action next Tuesday at Grace Christian.

After what Tillman saw on Thursday, it’s an understatement to say she’s ready to see if her Lady Jackets can keep taking strides forward.

“All I can say is yes, yes, yes,” Tillman said.