Picayune volleyball learning from losses

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, August 28, 2019

There are times in sports when the final score doesn’t reflect the quality of a certain team’s performance.

That was the case for Picayune Memorial High School’s volleyball team and their Head Coach Courtney Dickens when they played Bay High August 22 and lost 3-0.

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Dickens said the team played well, but that their opponent had some athletes who were deadly when serving the ball.

“What got us was our serve receive,” Dickens said.

“They were really good at hitting it in our holes. They had several kids who were doing that.”

The team had implemented a new offensive set up the day before, and even with the little practice time the athletes had in the new scheme Dickens thought they played well.

“Even with our wins I still felt like there was a piece of the puzzle missing,” Dickens said.

“Considering we just threw that on them, we did really well.”

In volleyball a team’s defensive set up is based on their offensive scheme, and with the change in strategy Dickens said the team’s overall defense improved as well.

Players like Aliciana Carter, Kyla Harris, and Sarah Stockstill have been defensive stalwarts for the Maroon tide.

Carter and Harris are the team’s blockers, meaning they use their athleticism to meet the ball at the net to try and prevent the opposing team from getting the ball over.

Dickens said that Stockstill reads the game really well, and that allows her to be successful when digging the ball. Kyra Hathorne, Jolene Beck and Makenna Williams have been beneficial for the team offensively with Williams and Beck providing the assists to Hathorn who rises up to kill the ball.

These are just a few of the players who have improved since the program’s inaugural season last year, and Dickens said that because of the expectations placed on the athletes they always want to improve.

“They like that we expect things out of them,” Dickens said. “They know we believe in them and that they can do better. With any sport, if you’re playing for a coach and they don’t have expectations, then you’re not going to play hard.”

Dickens said that there’s a winning culture at PMHS when it comes to athletics, and because of that the players are used to the high expectations.

Additionally, there is a real desire to compete and win from the volleyball squad with Dickens saying that no matter who their opponent is the athletes are always trying to be victorious.

“The thing I love about this group is even though this is only our second year they do not like to lose,” Dickens said.

“We could be playing Team USA and they’re going to be trying to win.”

That desire to win manifests itself in an incredible work ethic that prompts the athletes to go above and beyond to improve as players.

“We got beat by Stone Tuesday and Wednesday I had ended practice at 5, and at 6:15 I still had a full gym,” Dickens said.

“They didn’t want to leave because they wanted to get better.”

The team will continue to practice and improve before they head to West Harrison August 27 for their next game.