SHS sweeps Tupelo in volleyball on senior night

Starkville High School volleyball seniors Leilah Taylor (16) and Madeline Tegt (10) were recognized by head coach Xavier Tillman, left, assistant coach Sierra Horel and the program on Tuesday night.

For Starkville Daily News

The Starkville High School fans and players jumped for joy as the volleyball hit the floor.

When the ball left the hand of senior Lady Yellow Jacket Leilah Taylor and could not be played by Tupelo on the other side of the net, it capped a sweep by SHS on Tuesday night (26-24, 25-18, 25-19).

“It meant a lot because it is supposed to be our last home game playing with our teammates.” Taylor said.

The other senior, Madeline Tegt, said the same thing.

Taylor also said that it was a good win for the team as the Lady Jackets swept Tupelo at the end of a tough road.

“It has been a very rocky road, but we are just a great team,” Taylor said.  “We worked hard, and then we finished harder.”

Tegt added that SHS was a really resilient team, which showed in their performance against Tupelo in the final home match.

Head coach Xavier Tillman said the senior Lady Jackets had a challenge but were able to play well.

“I think our two seniors had a little extra oomph,” Tillman said. “They did some great things, both of them. Leilah ended the game with that last one, and that is something she will always remember.”

For the seniors, the moment didn’t hit them that this was their last game on home court until right before the game began.

“During the national anthem,” Tegt said. “Just standing out there on the court with my team, everybody is in silence and I’m looking at the court saying, 'wow, this is my last time being on this court as a player.'"

For Taylor, the moment hit when she saw the tears in her parents eyes, and felt the support from all her friends and family who showed up to the game.

“When my parents were crying, and the people who came to support me and my teammates made me feel really special (Tuesday night)," Taylor said.

Both seniors are unsure what the road ahead of them looks like as they don't know if they will be playing volleyball at the next level. However they have left an impact on the Starkville team.

“We are going to miss those girls next year, but we know that both of them have great futures ahead of them, and they both left some good words of encouragement for our returning players next year," Tillman said.

Although the girls might have been worried about the game being on senior night, Tillman said they ended the year on a good note with the win.

“It is just good to see it all come together even if it is at the end of the season,” Tillman said. “We understand that there is a next season, and we are going to take this moving forward, we got the last game against Choctaw County as well next Thursday.”

With the memorable win, Starkville (10-16) was able to send their two seniors off the home court happy as they out-played Tupelo (12-14).

Taylor had eight kills and 11 digs in the victory, and Tegt had 15 digs as well.

Starkville will play at Choctaw County in their last game of the year next Thursday.