By DANNY P. SMITH
The Starkville High School tennis team were disappointed about their first division loss of the season to the Tupelo Golden Wave on Wednesday.
The good news is the Yellowjackets don't have to wait long for a second chance.
After dropping a 5-2 decision at the SHS tennis courts, the Jackets are already anxious for the return match at Tupelo on Friday.
"Now we know what we're up against," Starkville junior Christine Mazzola said. "We know how to play in the district and this is one of the tough teams we've faced. We've got good players at good positions. We've got a good young team and we can challenge them."
Mazzola and her partner Dasha Banderinko lost to Leslie Ham and Lauren Bell of the Golden Wave in No. 1 girls double 6-4, 6-2, while the No. 2 girls doubles team of Mikala Taylor and Pryanka Parajuli of the Jackets fell to Ashley Williams and Casey Marshall 6-3, 6-2.
In the final match of the day, the SHS mixed doubles duo of Emily Turner and Nick Elder came up short against Zach Baldwin and Sarah Hollingsworth 7-5, 6-4.
Turner believes the Jackets have learned from their mistakes and is anxious to play Tupelo again.
"On Friday, we'll be prepared, know what we're up against and have a game plan," Turner said.
In boys doubles, J.G. Buffington and Andrew Moorhead of Starkville lost to Aaron Hilderbrand and Will Otis 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 1 position, while Clark Pittman and Brian Xu fell to Andrew Hilderbrand and Will Otis 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 2 position.
The Jackets got off to a good start in singles as Lewis Maynard defeated Robert Thompson in boys 6-1, 6-2, and Hannah Laird beat Megan Ware in girls 6-2, 7-5.
Starkville tennis coach Rob Fyke was pleased with the way the squad competed and thought there as a good chance for a win early after singles.
"Toward the middle and as the first set was ending in the first six matches, they had pulled through and on three of the courts had won the first set real close 6-4 and 7-5," Fyke said. "Close scores, but (we) just couldn't pull it through.
"Our kids know now what they have to live up to and know where they have to be in order to win, instead of just compete and play in close matches. We should know more and have a better feel for things on Friday."
Despite the loss, the Jackets still like where they stand with records of 10-1 overall and 4-1 in Class 6A, Region 2.
Still, a win against the Golden Wave would be a sweet one to get.
"We're having a great year and on Friday if we win, it will be wonderful," Turner said.