The last and only time this season the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers played Copiah Academy, it wasn't a pleasant experience.
Starkville Academy only got two hits and was handled easily by Copiah Academy 9-0 at the College Exposure Tournament at the Starkville Sportsplex on August 21.
The Lady Vols get another opportunity against Copiah Academy today at the Class AAA state tournament. The two teams meet in an early 9 a.m. start at Freedom Ridge Park in Jackson.
Starkville Academy coach Jessica Dickens believes her team is much improved since last seeing Copiah Academy and looks forward to it producing a different result.
"We are a much different team now than we were then in my opinion and we've fed off being the underdog in a lot of situations," Dickens said. "I think we'll rise to the challenge, plus we're playing with a little chip on our shoulders because of that last game. We have a little something to prove. I like that matchup coming into the state tournament. I think we'll be ready for it."
The Lady Vols, who bring a record of 20-12 into the state tournament, represent the North as the No. 3 seed.
After qualifying for the state event by defeating Magnolia Heights 4-2 and Madison-Ridgeland Academy 2-1 on Sept. 22, Starkville Academy dropped a pair of games to North State champion Pillow Academy 3-1 and Magnolia Heights 7-2 to fall back to the third seed.
Dickens said it's time to get back out on the field and see how the Lady Vols respond to the latest challenge.
"What I've said all season long, after a bad day or bad game, is at least we'll play another day and usually on that other day, we'll come out pretty strong," Dickens said. "Hopefully, the same thing will happen (today)."
Starkville Academy's offense will be led by Mary Austin Barber, Megan Picard, Bailey Wofford, Julianne Jackson and Megan Aucoin at the top of the order, while Jackson has been the main pitcher this season.
Win or lose, the Lady Vols play either Pillow Academy or Parklane Academy at 2:15 p.m. Saturday
If Starkville Academy can make the final four of the state tournament, it moves into Monday's championship round.
"It's some tough competition, but we are very honored to get our shot and I hope we'll go down there and live up to it," Dickens said.