HORN LAKE – Tupelo passed its first test in Class III, Division 1 volleyball play Thursday night.
The Lady Wave struggled offensively and defensively at times, but managed to rally to defeat Horn Lake 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-16) in its division opener.
“We like to do things I’ve never seen before,” Tupelo coach Laurie Bishop said, then smiled. “This is where we are … in the fighting stage. We’ve got to learn to take care of every single point. Every point is important.”
Tupelo (6-3, 1-0 division) led 22-16 in the first game only to see the Lady Eagles rally to make it 24-23. A shot by Crystal Coleman gave the Lady Wave a 1-0 advantage.
Horn Lake used its height – basketball players Tae’Lour Richardson and Alexis Thomas – to build a 12-6 lead in the second game.
“We have to run our offense,” Bishop said of her plan to counter Horn Lake’s size. “If we do that, and push them back, we can get them out of their rotation.”
A blocked shot by Tupelo’s Kerrigan Buck tied the score at 23-23. The Lady Wave took the game on back-to-back shots by Bethany Fitts and Morgan Hereford.
Hereford, a former setter moved to outside hitter her senior season, finished with seven kills.
“Morgan’s had several good games recently,” Bishop said. “She’s really been aggressive.”
Hereford believes she has adapted well to her new position in the lineup.
“I’ve changed a lot as a player from last year,” she said. “I’ve picked up (outside hitter). There’s a lot of arm swinging. It’s a big change.”
Tupelo sealed the match by charging out to a 12-2 lead in the third game. Horn Lake made a late run, but shots by Kaitlyn Wilson, Bowen, Buck and a kill by Hereford clinched it.
Buck led Tupelo with nine kills and Bowen added eight. Mariah O’Neal, a sophomore, had seven service aces.