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Lady Jackets return to Beehive and win

August 7, 2012

Starkville High School's Courtney Wilson, left, sets up a play as Stacie Young moves in to assist during Tuesday's match against Heritage Academy. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

It was back at the Beehive for the Starkville High School volleyball team.

After a year away from their on-campus home due to renovations, the Lady Yellowjackets made a successful return by beating Heritage Academy 3-0 Tuesday night.

The Lady Jackets (2-3) played at the Starkville Sportsplex, while improvements were being made to the Beehive.

"It's really big," SHS sophomore Khris Carr said. "It's different knowing we played at the Sportsplex last year. It is our place and our home. I was impressed on who all came for our first game."

Assistant coach Xavier Tillman, who has upped in her role in the past week since head coach Lauren Love had a baby, saw the excitement throughout the day from her team.

"Throughout the school day, they were 'coach you ready,' 'yea I'm ready,'" Tillman said. "They were very excited about being in the gym today."

The Lady Jackets took the first set 25-14, but found themselves down 5-1 early on.

With the first set tied at 6-6, freshman April Reese served an ace and Starkville never trailed again in the first set.

"From this weekend in our tournament, we learned that communication is the key," Tillman said. "We can stay in the game as long as we don't panic. They really learned this weekend about keeping their head and keeping their focus. That's what they did (Tuesday)."

The Lady Jackets went 1-3 during the weekend in Madison with losses to Lewisburg, Southaven and Hancock. They beat Jim Hill.

Carr who four kills and seven digs, saw a lot of cheering from the Lady Jacket bench early in that first set.

"We were down by a couple of points, but with a lot of encouragement from our teammates on the bench and from our coaches having faith in us, we tried to get back together," Carr said. "We looked for what was open on the court, and we just played smart."

SHS took the second set 25-9 and fought off a comeback by the Lady Patriots with a 25-19 third-set clincher.

"I think it was a big, big improvement from our tournament last weekend," Carr said. "It was a little timid, and we were a little nervous coming back from that loss. We improved, we did good, and we just had faith in ourselves."

Reese had six kills and five digs while Wilson had a team-high 16 digs.

"Khris Carr did an excellent job of placing the ball," Tillman said. "April did an excellent job with making smart passes on to the other side, and finding those open areas. It was Courtney (Williams) first start on varsity and she is doing a very good job digging and playing that back row. Vicky Vo did a good job serving."

As for Love, she watched all of the junior varsity's 2-0 victory in the first match and watched some of the varsity match. She left before the varsity had finished to return to her child.

"I have coach Love's number," Tillman said of filling in for Love. "I call it and text her whenever I need her. She is a great, great lady and she supports all that we do here. We have had a lot of help with the staff. Tiffany Jackson, she is the new coach at Armstrong Middle School. She comes over and helps. I have had some former players of Starkville High School that come over and help."

The Lady Jackets are back in action Aug. 14 when they play host to Aberdeen.

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