Laurie Bishop’s team began their first match of the day at 8 a.m and concluded around 8 p.m. Saturday was a fairly busy day for all 15 teams at the 14th Annual Tupelo Volleyfest.
Between those 12 hours, Tupelo volleyball (10-4) defeated Caledonia, Middleton (TN), Lafayette County, and Cleveland. Their final match featured an exhausted but strong-willed THS, the No. 2 tournament seed, losing to Starkville (18-25, 27-26, 9-15) in a fabulous three-set semifinal match. Starkville, the No. 6 seed, eventually lost in the tournament title match in three games against back-to-back Volleyfest champs, No. 1 seed Ocean Springs (23-25, 25-17, 15-13).
“I’m proud of our team, winning in straight sets throughout pool play to earn a bye in the tournament,” said Bishop. “Starkville played a strong, smart match against us and then had an impressive match against a powerful Ocean Springs team.”
Starkville head coach Lauren Love was pleased with her players, too. “Runner-up is the best tournament finish for the program in at least five years. We are very proud of our girls. We worked hard and made some big plays,” said Love. “More importantly, we learned more about our team and what we can do if we play together and take care of our side.”
Ocean Springs head coach Brooke Engle didn’t get to make the trip but was extremely pleased of her team’s second-straight tournament title. “I am very proud of them for rallying together and winning without me,” said Engle. “They have so much potential. They showed not only themselves but everyone there what they’re capable of doing.”
Lady Wave volleyball returns to action this Tuesday at Ripley and Thursday when Southaven comes to THS. The match Thursday will not be a division game.