Pearl River thumps Mississippi University for Women
Published 2:47 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River volleyball team continued its incredible run Wednesday night, picking up a commanding sweep of Mississippi University for Women 3-0 (25-6, 25-9, 25-23). The victory was PRCC’s 11th out of its last 12 matches.
“We were able to get to see everyone on the court tonight which is always a good thing,” head coach Haley Chatham said. “Experience with the speed of the game is so important from season to season and if you can return players with lots of experience, you’ll start off in a good place.”
Chatham talked about her team’s great run of form.
“I think a couple of weeks ago, we reached the point where we were more comfortable with the speed of the game,” she said. “We aren’t experts at it but being comfortable with it has let us grow a ton.
“Half of the battle is understanding that what is important at this level is different than what’s important in high school and club. I’m glad that I went through that transition myself not too long ago. It really helped me understand where they were, where they are, where they are going and what it takes to get there.”
Pearl River (18-9 overall) got off to a hot start in the match, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Anna Claire Sheffield (Canton; Jackson Academy) got the scoring started by crushing a kill off the hands of a Mississippi University for Women player and out of bounds. Julianah Overstreet (Vancleave) picked up the next point by dropping in an ace and Jasmine Burdine capped off the opening run with a kill.
The Wildcats continued to pour it on, building out a 12-2 lead very quickly. PRCC extended the lead thanks to a great play by Hannah French (Ocean Springs). The freshman dove to pick up a dig which set up a thunderous kill from Burdine. Burdine immediately picked up another kill on the next play, sending a ball off the hands of a defender and off the back wall.
The Pearl River lead eventually swelled to 20-4 after Natalie Bartholomew (Brandon) unleashed a kill that smacked off the hands of a defender and flew into the nearby spectators.
Sammie Smith (D’Iberville) single-handedly put away the set at the end, scoring all three of Pearl River’s final points. The first came off a kill and was followed up by the freshman softly tapping a ball over and in between a few Owl players. She capped off the 25-6 set one victory with a block.
The second set began with a 1-1 tie, but it was all Wildcats from there. A block from Abbie Franks (Ocean Springs) gave the Wildcats the lead and Bartholomew followed it up with a kill.
Pearl River extended its lead out to 7-2 after Allison Carpenter (Ocean Springs) picked up an ace.
The Wildcats continued to pile it on midway through the set, extending their lead out to 15-6 after a Bartholomew ace and an Addie McNeely (Brandon; Hartfield Academy) kill.
Sara McKinney (Delaware, Okla.; Oklahoma Union) pushed the PRCC advantage out to 19-7 soon after, picking up back-to-back kills.
Pearl River kept on adding to its lead and Jamaya Fondren (Oxford; Regents School of Oxford) finally put an end to the set with a kill. The point made the score 25-9.
The third set was the most tightly contested of the night. The Wildcats took an early 5-1 lead with the help of a Burdine kill and a Delaney Sisson (Auburn, Ala.) ace.
The Owls fought back to tie things up at 8-8 and briefly took a 9-8 lead.
Overstreet tied the match up 9-9 after crushing a kill down in front of the MUW defenders. Jaiden Gaston (Spruce Pine, Ala.; Tharptown) then gave PRCC the 10-9 lead by picking up a block.
Pearl River momentarily pulled away, going ahead 18-12 with the help of kills from Overstreet and Fondren.
MUW roared back from the deficit to tie up the match at 20-20, but PRCC eventually closed out the set 25-23 to secure the sweep.
Pearl River hits the road Saturday for a match against Lurleen B. Wallace. The action is set to get underway at 2 p.m.