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Picayune volleyball goes into its second season

The Maroon Tide volleyball team opened its season with an introductory game against George County August 8.

They then followed that  up with a game against West Harrison August 13.

Head Coach Courtney Dickens was hoping the preseason games would help with the nervousness that comes with playing the first game of the season.

When the final point of the opening game was tallied, the team came up short against George County. However, Dickens said there were positives to take from the team’s opening defeat at home.

“From last year to this year I think they adjusted pretty well, and I do think the crowd gets them a little more fired up,” Dickens said.

The team was going to use the week’s practices leading up to their game against West Harrison, which took place August 13 at 6:30 p.m., to adjust some player positioning, and get more comfortable with their offensive system.

“We’re going to be moving some girls around,” Dickens said.

“Volleyball is easy once you get it, but to explain it to people who don’t understand, they can sometimes get confused.”

Dickens also wants her squad to work on their chemistry, and she said that the familiarity of playing with each other would come with time and practice.

“If you’re playing with two people you get used to playing with those two people,” Dickens said.

“You learn those things when you play together.”

“We’re just building off those things, learning each other.” “I really think we have to do a better job communicating.”

The practice time seemed to pay off when the Maroon Tide faced off against West Harrison for their second game of the season.

The athletes won the game in four sets.

Dickens said it was some of the best volleyball she’s seen from the squad.

“I told them I think what helped us was we had a lot of saves,” Dickens said.

“We were diving on the floor hitting the ball up, and we had extra effort saves.”

The team also served well.

However, Dickens said the key to the victory was the squad’s performance on the defensive end.

“I strongly believe defense wins championships,” Dickens said. “We played very good defense last night, and that’s what really made the difference.”

The squad won the first two sets before losing the third to West Harrison.

The squad needed just one more set to earn the victory.

For some teams this pressure situation would call for the coach to give a pep talk urging the squad forward. However, in this case Dickens said the athletes were actually the ones   who pushed each other to finish strong.

“I walked in the locker room after the game and my sister was telling them, ‘I think y’all wanted to win more’,” Dickens said.

“I could see it in the way they were playing, honestly I think that was the difference too.”

Now the Maroon Tide is looking forward to a rivalry matchup against Poplarville High School’s volleyball team.

The game will take place August 15 with the varsity squads facing off at 6:30 p.m.

“I know Poplaville will be pretty good, they have athletes, and always have,” Dickens said.

“I’m looking for it to be good competition for us. We’re going to have to play well, and play hard to get the win.”