Pearl River volleyball sweeps Northwest in season opener
SENATOBIA, Miss. — If the Pearl River volleyball team was feeling the effects of the short offseason, they sure did not show it on Friday at Northwest, sweeping the match 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-17).
While the Wildcats were in control the entire night, head coach Haley Chatham is already looking ahead.
“I think that we did well enough to get the job done tonight and I am happy about that,” she said. “I do think that we can be a little bit faster and our offensive game could’ve been better. We did well defensively. We served well and didn’t make many errors, but I think we need to pick up the speed a bit.”
The Wildcats only trailed once during the match which allowed Chatham to get her freshman some experience.
“I’m happy that we were able to get a lot of our personnel in tonight,” she said. “We were able to get our new girls some experience at this level and that’s nice.”
The first set of the season was a battle throughout the early stages as neither Pearl River (1-0 overall) nor Northwest (0-1) could build a large lead.
The first large lead of the set came when Pearl River rattled off a string of three consecutive points that was capped off by a Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount) kill to make the score 11-7.
Despite the deficit, the Rangers did not let up as they were able to claw back within one at 14-13.
The Wildcats quickly responded by going on a 7-2 run that was highlighted by a Diamond Jones (Gonzalez, La.; East Ascension) kill and a diving dig from Sydney Salter (Vancleave), giving the Wildcats a 20-15 advantage.
PRCC closed out the first set by claiming back-to-back points thanks to an Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg) tip and a Chloe Paske (St. Martin) kill, winning 25-19.
Pearl River jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in set two before Northwest evened the score at 3-3.
The Wildcats didn’t let the score remain close for long as they claimed five straight points to go back on top 8-3.
The Rangers closed the gap but kills from Payton McKerchie (Vancleave), Leighton Willoughby (Brandon; Northwest Rankin) and Draine put the Wildcats ahead 11-6.
Pearl River extended its lead out to six points at 19-13 after a Draine kill. The six-point lead was the largest that the Wildcats were able to grab during set two.
The pair of teams went back-and-forth for the rest of the set, but a tip from Julianah Overstreet (Vancleave) landed just to the right of a Northwest player to close out the set at 25-20.
Northwest grabbed its only lead of the match to begin the third set before Pearl River went on a run to go on top 7-4.
The teams did not let up as they battled to a 12-11 score with the Wildcats on top.
PRCC gained momentum after freshman Annah Marshal (Lake Cormorant) laid out for a dig to keep a play alive and get a point.
The play sparked a 12-2 run by the Wildcats who went on top 24-13.
The Rangers tried to climb back into the contest, but Jasmine Burdine (Biloxi) put a stop to the attempt with a kill, winning the set 25-17.
The Wildcats will return to action on Tuesday as they travel to Pensacola for a doubleheader against Pensacola Christian and Coastal Alabama – East. The matches will begin at 2 p.m.
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