By DANNY P. SMITH
It was a key point of the match so Starkville High School volleyball coach Lauren Love felt the need to deliver a strong message to her team.
With the match split at one set each between Starkville and the Caledonia Lady Confederates, the Lady Jackets had taken a 15-11 lead in the third set and Love expressed to them during a timeout of how important it is to close out strong.
The SHS players took the words from their coach to heart and other than a brief hiccup coming out of the timeout, the Lady Jackets finished off a 3-1 victory over the Lady Confederates Thursday night at the Starkville Sportsplex.
"Caledonia is always a strong team within their district and they had a big tournament showing earlier (in the season)," Love said. "I don't know if our girls knew that, but I wanted them to know this was a big deal.
"It's hard to get any kind of momentum going or intensity level when there is limited communication on the court so I was trying to give them some kind of incentive other than just to win and let them know the level of this kind of win."
After dropping the first set 27-25, Starkville came back to win three straight 25-22, 25-19 and 25-15 to improve its overall record to 7-4.
Kristian Carr, a freshman for the Lady Jackets, admitted that she got off to a slow start in the match and needed to hear what Love had to say.
"When i came out, I was weak and not myself," Carr said. "As our game progressed, I think I got better and was able to hit the ball better. Overall, it was not my best game, but I will accept it for tonight."
Carr had 16 digs to lead Starkville, but was able to get three key aces during the match.
"My serves weren't as good last year, but I know this year I have progressed and have gotten better with my aces," Carr said. "If I can't get my kills, then I can definitely get my aces."
Wheeler Richardson had 14 digs, 10 assists, nine kills and three aces for the Lady Jackets, while April Reese contributed six aces and five kills, Grace Drumheller added 12 digs, and Michaela Mills added six kills.