Lady Jackets drop five-set volleyball match at home

Starkville's Zoe Elder pauses between points during Tuesday night's volleyball match against Northwest Rankin.

Staff Writer

It was a night where the Starkville Lady Yellow Jackets saw a lead in every set against the Northwest Rankin Lady Cougars on Tuesday night.

The Lady Jackets were only able to win two of them.

Northwest Rankin won a 3-2 decision over Starkville in a grueling two-hour Class III, Region 3 match at the Beehive.

The Lady Jackets held a 23-20 advantage late in the first set, but ended up losing 26-24 and that may have been the toughest pill to swallow during the match.

"Once we start making several mistakes, we have a hard time rebounding back," SHS volleyball coach Xavier Tillman said. "That's one thing we've got to work on is keeping our focus and taking care of our side of the court. We can't worry about what the other team is doing on the other side. When we do that, we actually give the other team points.

"We've just got to maintain the importance of keeping up the energy and communication. They are learning it, but it looks like we have to have a couple of heartbreaks to seal the deal for us."

After bouncing back to take the second set 25-19, the Lady Jackets jumped out to another lead in the third at 15-8, but surrendered the set to the Lady Cougars 25-21.

Starkville won the fourth set 25-17 to force a deciding fifth and established an 11-8 lead before Northwest Rankin rallied to capture a 15-12 victory and the match.

"We have opportunities to win the set and push through," Tillman said. "Our practice (on Monday) was to finish, so we had game-like situations where we are down two and can we push through and win this point? That's something we are working on in practice and something we need to continue to work on."

Brittany Gabbidon led the Lady Jackets with eight kills, while Leilah Taylor added six kills. Zoe Elder had six aces and Madeline Tegt chipped in five aces, while Brayland Ferguson contributed seven blocks.
Along with her aces, Tegt led SHS with 12 digs.

The Lady Jackets are scheduled to make the trip to Meridian on Thursday.