Poplarville volleyball ready for first district game

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 13, 2019

Poplarville’s volleyball team played its third game in four days when it traveled to Greene County to start the district portion of the season on Sept. 12.

That’s a heavy workload for any squad, but Head Coach Jonathan Ray views the numerous games as a positive.

The players are still learning the game, and the ability to get a lot of experience in a short time could help the athletes.

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“I’m hoping that because of the repetition it keeps us in a good groove,” Ray said.

The squad’s previous game was against county rival Picayune on September 10.

The team kept the game close, but ended up losing to the Maroon Tide.

Picayune won the first set 25-21, and Poplarville responded by winning the second set with a score of 25-17.

The third set was tight with Picayune able to come out on top 25-23, and the Maroon Tide then went on to win the last set 25-15.

While it may not have been the result Ray and his players were looking for, Ray said that the progress of the team was evident during the match against Picayune.

“I saw a lot of improvement against Picayune in all phases of the game,” Ray said.

“Now it’s just a matter of learning how to win close games. That’s the next step, that’s what we need to work on.”

Ray said that senior Hannah Blanchard, junior Cassidy Cartwright, and sophomore Abbie Jordan all performed well against the Maroon Tide.

Now the team is heading into the tougher portion of their schedule as they go up against district opponents.

The players’ inexperience in those kinds of games was a big question mark for Ray as the team prepared for Greene County.

“That’s going to be interesting to see,” Ray said.

“Because the game is so different from anything we’ve ever experienced, how the intensity and nerves play into that I don’t know.”

The team has been steadily improving as the season has worn on, and Ray said that the squad’s performance this season has surpassed expectations.

“We’ve developed tremendously, and I think we’re ahead of schedule,” Ray said.

“It just points to the (players’) work ethic, desire to get better and be coachable.”

The team had a long trek for their first district game.

Greene County High School is nearly an hour and a half away from Poplarville, and the team’s ability to travel well would be key if the Hornets wanted to leave with a win.

“Traveling is a big question mark,” Ray said.

“That’ll be a big question is how we get off the bus and play.”

Ray said that Greene County is a relatively unknown opponent to the Hornets’ volleyball team.

With little information to go on, Ray’s team would have to adapt and learn on the fly as they took on the Wildcats.

“Looking at their record they’ve lost to some good teams and won some games,” Ray said. “Going in I don’t know what to expect until we see them play.”