ACKERMAN – The Ackerman High School volleyball team had an opportunity to knock off a Class 5A squad, but nerves seemed to get the best of them.
The Lady Indians dropped a 3-0 match to Starkville High School Tuesday night.
Ackerman jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set, but the Lady Yellowjackets fought back and took control of the first set.
The Lady Indians (6-2) did not go away and fought their way back to 18-16. SHS (7-7) head coach Lauren Love called a timeout to talk to her club.
"Ackerman was ready to play and we weren't ready to play," Love said. "That was evident from the serve and pass. We needed to go out and be aggressive with our serves and be more responsible with our passing."
Ackerman took the first point out of the timeout to make it 18-17, but that was as close as they got. The Lady Jackets finished off the first set 25-20.
"The whole time I kept saying, 'there's nothing to lose,'" Ackerman head coach Jamie Huffman said. "They're a 5A school. They're going to be pretty big, pretty deep and pretty good. We did make a lot of good plays, but it just wasn't in our favor."
The Lady Indians seemed inspired in the second set and took a 7-3 lead early behind the serving of Dayna Presley. That lead didn't hold long.
"(Presley's) serving was very patchy (Tuesday)," Huffman said. "We were very nervous and it was very obvious. During pregame, they were very nervous."
Starkville made a run to get back in the second set and finally took a 17-16 lead. The set went back and forth until the Lady Jackets rattled off six straight points to take the second set 25-19.
"We were playing tentatively and not to mess up," Huffman said. "I just told the girls, 'we just need to go out there and play to win every point.'"
The excitement of the second set didn't carry over to the third set. Ackerman took an early 4-2 lead, but SHS scored seven straight points to take control of the match. SHS took the third set 25-15.
"We have a hard time keeping our heads up," Huffman said. "We have been working on it all season. Last season, there were a lot of girls that didn't know how to be leaders. This year, I have been teaching the girls how to be leaders, how to get out there and you can't hang your head."
It was the second match in as many days for the Lady Yellowjackets, who also were coming off a tournament on Saturday.
"They had a long tournament on Saturday, then come in Monday and (Tuesday)," Love said. "We (do) condition and fatigue wasn't a factor, but it may have been a mental factor. We were fortunate to come away (with a win)."
Courtney Wilson and Michaela Mills led SHS with four aces. Khris Carr had three aces of her own.
Carr and Stacie Young each had six kills. Mills and Wilson added four each and April Reese had five kills.
Reese led SHS with 10 digs, Noa Katherine Hardin had nine digs, Wilson added seven and Carr pitched in six digs.
SHS is back in action next Tuesday when they host Amory.
The Lady Indians are back at home Thursday when Caledonia comes calling. The junior varsity starts at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity following at 6:30 p.m.