By JOEL COLEMAN
The Starkville volleyball team is making the most of its home away from home.
Facing Canton on Monday at the Starkville Sportsplex Gymnasium, where SHS is hosting games this season as an air-conditioning system is installed in its traditional home gym, the Lady Yellowjackets won in straight sets (25-10, 25-16, 25-7).
The victory pushed Starkville to a perfect 4-0 mark in the Sportsplex, and more importantly, kept the Lady Jackets unbeaten in district play.
SHS head coach Lauren Love said Monday's match was an example of how her team seems to be progressing as the season goes along.
"We're getting more cohesive with our pass, set, hit," said Love. "We're just working better. When we started the season, we weren't used to playing in this specific rotational order. Now that we're getting midway through the season, the girls are getting used to how each other plays. That's really helping us jell together."
Canton found that out the hard way on Monday.
Starkville (14-10 overall, 4-0 in district play) dominated the match, virtually from beginning to end.
After easily taking the first set, the Lady Yellowjackets only real hiccup of the evening came in the second set, as the Lady Tigers battled back from a 12-6 deficit to get within two of Starkville at 14-12.
That's when the Lady Jackets ripped off a 5-0 run, keyed by a string of aces by Kiana Bridges, that sent Starkville to the win in the set.
SHS began the third set on a 9-0 run and never looked back on the way to victory.
"We limited our unforced errors," said Love. "That's really important, that we were able to take care of our side. With that, we can always improve because we're keeping the ball in play."
Starkville senior Wheeler Richardson and junior Michaela Mills each came up big for the Lady Jackets in the triumph.
Richardson tallied eight assists, six aces and five kills in the match, while Mills recorded nine kills, seven assists, five aces and a pair of digs.
April Reese contributed nine kills and four aces to the winning effort.
Bridges finished with four aces as well.
Khristian Carr and Jamiyah Covington each had four kills for SHS, helping the Lady Jackets stay in the driver's seat of Class 2, Region 2.
"We're improving with every game and are just focusing on the skills we need to acquire to win," said Starkville senior Grace Drumheller. "Hopefully the season will just keep going like it has been going. We've just got to take it one day at the time, focus on what we need to in the moment and prepare as we go along the way."
Starkville returns to action next Monday with a 6 p.m. varsity match at Callaway.