Starkville High School volleyball coach Lauren Love had a simple message for her team prior to Monday's afternoon match against Class 5A, Region 2 opponent Canton.
"Let's start from the beginning," Love told the Lady Yellowjackets at courtside before they assumed their positions.
It turned out that there wasn't much time from the beginning until the end of the match.
Starkville took control early against the Lady Tigers and won a 3-0 decision in less than an hour at the Beehive.
The Lady Jackets improved their district record to 3-0 and Love said it's important to take each district match seriously in terms of playoff seeding and a possible host opportunity.
"It's a goal for us to do as well as we can in district this year, so to get any district win is a positive," Love said. "There's a lot riding on every district match."
It was obvious from the beginning that Starkville over-matched Canton, but April Reese was not going to take anything for granted and said the Lady Jackets knew the importance of the match.
"You have to come in with the right mindset that I'm going to play as hard as I can and I think we did that (Monday night)," Reese said.
Starkville seized control early and won the first set 25-7. After falling behind in the second set 3-0, the Lady Jackets came back to claim a 25-9 win. The set was tied 7-7 when SHS had a run of seven-straight points off Jamiyah Covington's serve to take a 14-7 advantage.
The Lady Jackets closed out the match by winning the final set 25-10.
Love said the first two sets were not perfect, but was glad to see her squad take care of business.
"We had too many service errors in the first set, so I was glad we were able to clean that up a little bit and take care of our side," Love said. "(In the second set) we were a little flat-footed and they were quick to get the ball over. We weren't ready. It caught us off-guard, but we were able to take a second and get things cleaned up on our side."
Khris Carr had six kills, eight aces and two digs for SHS, while Micheala Mills added eight assists.
Reese, who won some valuable points off her serve in the second set, said the Lady Jackets did a good job of staying intense throughout the match.
"We stayed aggressive, kept passing and kept hitting," Reese said. "We did a pretty good job of that. We kept supporting each other and kept swinging. Even though we hit some out, we pulled through pretty well."
Starkville, which improved its overall record to 12-11, hosts Ackerman Thursday night.