Serving inconsistency hurts SHS during volleyball loss

The Starkville High School volleyball team discusses strategy during a timeout.

For Starkville Daily News

Going hit for hit, Starkville High School at times held its own against Madison Central in volleyball action Thursday night, but the Lady Yellow Jackets were not consistent enough to win a set as they lost 3-0.

One of their issues in the first set where SHS lost 25-21, was serving the ball as there were many serving errors.

Coach Xavier Tillman said it’s something the Lady Jackets are trying to improve on.

“One of our big things all season long has been consistency,” Tillman said. “All of our girls are capable servers, but that is what plagued us across the board is consistency.”
One of the things that got to SHS in the game and has gotten it off of its serving game is excitement from the closeness of the game.

“Sometimes the excitement of the game, or because of the closeness the anxiousness, it affects it,” Tillman said. “We talk about how important, with some of the close games that we have lost, if we hadn’t had those missed serves, we could’ve come out on top.”

The Lady Jackets almost won set two but let the lead slip and lost 25-22. The same thing happened in the third set when they lost 28-26 as well.

“We really did some good things against Madison Central, who are the team in our district that is the No. 1 seed,” Tillman said. “For us to compete against them this year the way that we did, and as close as we did, even though we didn’t come out on top, we were very impressive for me.“

To emphasize how close those sets were, Starkville had a 15-9 lead in the third set, let it slip and forced a 24-24 game after calling a timeout down 24-23.

“We were so close each time, but we are going to push forward and we are going to meet them again,” Tillman said. “We are determined that when we meet them again it isn’t going to be as easy as it was (Thursday night).”
Despite losing the third set in such crushing fashion as the Lady Jackets were up, Tillman still saw some positives from their performance in that set.

“I talked about on our last huddle about finishing, one of our big things this season is to extend and to finish,” Tillman said. “We are up and that was good. We let it slip through our fingers. (We have) to be able to fight, and get those points, (and) not let the big girls on the other side intimidate us.”

The players who stood out for Tillman were Brayland Ferguson and Jakailyn Brown, both players are at middle, made a huge impact with their blocking as each had three blocks and had all of Starkville’s blocks.

“With a hitting team like that, if you can put up some blocks then what happens is they have to change some things," Tillman said. "I think that is what they did, so our blockers really played a big role (Thursday night).”
Leilah Taylor and Zoe Elder led the Lady Jackets in kills as Taylor had five and Elder had four.

With the loss, Starkville dropped to 7-6 overall and 1-2 in Class III, Region 3.