Picayune volleyball working on consistency

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Maroon Tide was facing off against Harrison Central on Oct. 1 in hopes of getting back on track and adding a game to the win column. The first set was close, with Picayune narrowly losing 25-22, and they used the momentum to come back and win the second set 25-18.

Harrison Central regained control, and won the following two sets to close out the game with scores of 25-16 and 25-9. Head Coach Courtney Dickens said the flow of the game was indicative of a problem, which has been plaguing the team all year, inconsistency.

“We play up one set and down another. We have to do a better job playing up when we’re behind. We just haven’t done a good job of coming from behind,” Dickens said.

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Dickens said when the team is ahead, the players are full of energy and effort.

However, as soon as the squad falls behind, there is a shift in the mentality of the players, and they can start to hang their heads.

“People don’t care that it’s only our second year, we have to find a way to get it done,” Dickens said.

Dickens said libero Sarah Stockstill and setter Makenna Williams were key in helping the Maroon Tide keep the games close early on in the match. Kyra Hathorne also did a good job on the offensive end by getting some nice tip ins and aiming her kills where the defense was vulnerable.

The team has dealt with high expectations all year, even thought it’s only the second year the program has been around. However, Dickens said her players are used to the pressure, and the success of other athletic programs has led to the volleyball team having high expectations from the beginning. “They were never OK with losing. It (has led to) some pressure, and especially next year it’ll be even more,” Dickens said. The athletes who make up the squad all have varying play styles, and strengths.

Dickens said having diversity makes a team better, and she’s hoping to continue to see growth from her athletes. “They’re just like a family, a bunch of sisters. We have a lot of different personalities, but that’s what makes teams good is different personalities,” Dickens said.

Picayune has already been eliminated from playoff contention, which has given Dickens the opportunity to play some younger players.

The new athletes are gaining valuable game experience on the varsity level, and the next generation of talent is getting ready to take over.

“I have high expectations for them. I’m excited to see how much better they’ll be next year. They like to work hard, and want to win so that drives them,” Dickens said.

The team’s next game is at 6:30 p.m. against Bay High on Oct. 3. Last time the two squads met, Picayune was defeated three sets to none.

This time around Dickens wants to see her players keep the game closer. “I want to see us take them to four or five sets. I think we’re better than letting them beat us in three sets,” Dickens said.