Picayune volleyball falls to Stone

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

Picayune Memorial High School’s volleyball team was riding high on a three game win streak before heading into Tuesday’s game against Stone High School.

In only its second year of existence, the volleyball program has steadily improved, and already has more wins this year than all of last season.

However, Stone proved to be a tough opponent, one the Maroon Tide wasn’t able to overcome.

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Serving has been a source of strength for the local team, but Head Coach Courtney Dickens said that Stone County presented the Maroon Tide with some struggles as they tried to get the ball where it needed to go.

“Our serving wasn’t the best,” Dickens said.

“We didn’t serve that many out, but we weren’t serving the ball with any power.”

The game came on the second night of a back-to- back, and Dickens said her players showed their fatigue.

“We just kind of looked sloppy,” Dickens said.

“I do think they were tired. They had a full week last week and a full week this week.”

Dickens and the team are going back to the drawing board and start working in practice on some of the little things that need improving.

Because the team played on Monday and Tuesday, there weren’t any opportunities for Dickens and her athletes to fix some of the problems they’d been having.

“It’s hard to play back-to- back like that because you don’t have time to practice on what you need to do,” Dickens said.

Dickens believes that defense wins championships, and that has been the cornerstone of her philosophy during the past two years as head of the Picayune volleyball program.

She has her players go through a variety of defensive drills during practices, but against Stone the athletes had a hard time keeping the ball off the floor.

“Our defense was not very good last night,” Dickens said.

“Honestly that won some games for us, and that’s why I’m so big on defense. But it lost the game for us last night.”

The unique set of schemes and systems each opponent runs means that the players have to adapt their defensive style during each game.

That mental aspect of the game is something Dickens continues to push her athletes to work on.

In time, she’s hoping that the things they have to think about now will become habits as the players gain experience.

“With any sport, and especially in volleyball, they do have a lot they have to remember,” Dickens said. “With this being a new sport they have to think a lot, but the more they play that’ll get better. Some of the stuff they have to think about will start to come naturally.”

It was a disappointing loss for a team that was on a roll, but Dickens said that a loss is a great learning opportunity.

“Stone just outplayed us last night, and there’s a lot we can learn from that,” Dickens said.

The team plays again Aug. 22 at home against Bay High at 6:30 p.m.

Until then, Dickens and her players will be hard at work to fix any issues, and she said that the athletes have to hold themselves accountable if they want to continue improving.

“I don’t make excuses for them and I don’t allow them to make excuses either,” Dickens said.