PONTOTOC • Pontotoc’s volleyball team was in midseason form on Saturday.
The Lady Warriors opened the 2019 campaign by rolling past Tishomingo County, 2-0 (25-21, 25-12), in the Pontotoc Classic.
After a couple of rough seasons, coach Annie McGregor’s girls went 13-13 last year and look to keep building on that.
“I graduated three seniors last year, but everybody who’s on my varsity roster this year was on it last year,” said McGregor, who’s in her seventh season as coach. “So we brought back a lot of experience this year that’s really paying off.”
Pontotoc later defeated Belmont, 2-0 (25-16, 25-17).
The Lady Warriors exerted dominance at the net early and often on Saturday. De’Aisha Browner and Samya Brooks racked up a load of kills and blocks, with Browner setting that tone early in the first game.
“They block everything,” McGregor said. “It’s funny, De’Aisha Browner is one of the shortest people on my team, but she doesn’t jump like it.”
The 5-foot-7 Browner scored the match’s final point with an authoritative kill, her third of the game. As dominant as she was physically, the junior said it’s her mental game that’s made strides.
“Last year I was not very good at throwing everything away. I’d make a bad pass, and I’d keep it in my mind, and I’d be upset,” Browner said. “But now I throw it away – throw it away and keep going.”
Tishomingo County, like Pontotoc, played .500 ball last season. The Lady Braves, who also lost to Hickory Flat on Saturday, did not always look sharp.
They started well against Pontotoc, and the first game was tied 19-19. But a kill by Randa Clair Payne and a block by Gabby Golden put the Lady Warriors up to stay.
That carried over into the second game, when Pontotoc use a 14-0 run to go up 22-3.
“We are capable of playing good volleyball,” Tishomingo County coach Brian Middleton said. “We have to be very fundamental with our passes against teams like that. We overpassed a ton, and they smoked it down our throats.”