Picayune volleyball falls in first district game

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It took four sets, but the Maroon Tide’s volleyball team eventually fell to Hattiesburg in the first district game of the season.

Picayune was coming off a tough win against Poplarville, and was hoping to start district play with a win.

Head Coach Courtney Dickens said the team performed well offensively.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

However, it was the defensive aspect of the game she said the team struggled with against Hattiesburg.

“We just have to do a better job playing our positions,” Dickens said. “Sometimes we crowd on top of each other, and go for balls we should let our teammates get. We are trying to try our best to clean some of that up.”

There were some bright spots for the Maroon Tide on defense with Aliciana Carter and Kyla Harris both affecting the game positively up front.

“They were able to block, and we threw them off their game plan,” Dickens said.

The volleyball program was founded late in the school year last year, meaning they had no shot at a district title, or the playoffs.

This is the first year the Maroon Tide is part of a district, and Dickens said that it motivates her athletes to play even harder.

“Very pleased with the effort, I think my girls played hard,” Dickens said.  “They’re playing for something now, it means a little more to them. I thought we competed really well with them.”

The players have been focusing on learning the fundamentals as the program grows, and Dickens said the team hasn’t been able to focus on conditioning.

The game against Hattiesburg was the third in four days for the Maroon Tide, but Dickens said that because her players are multi-sport athletes conditioning isn’t a problem.

“It helps that they don’t get out of shape,” Dickens said. “They go from one sport to the next, and I think that helps us because they’re used to playing all the time.”

There were some nerves heading into the team’s first district game, and the noise of the gym could’ve thrown some teams off.

However, Dickens said her Maroon Tide players love playing in hostile environments, and they feed off the energy of the crowd.

“I think they had some butterflies because it was so loud in that gym,” Dickens said. “Honestly I think my girls play better in that atmosphere.

They handled the pressure really well.”

Picayune has an away game at Greene County Sept. 16 followed by a home game against Long Beach Sept. 17 with both matches set to start at 6:30 p.m.

Dickens is hoping her athletes play up to their potential, and she’s seen how the younger players have elevated their play to handle the competition.

“Destiny Hannah has just really stepped up and gotten better,” Dickens said. “She played all the way around, and did a fantastic job. She’s going to have to learn the players because she’s not used to playing with them, but she catches on pretty quickly.”