OXFORD • The final score was 3-0, but it was by no means an easy volleyball win for Tupelo.
Sparked by late rallies in each of the first two sets, the Lady Wave defeated fellow Class 6A power Oxford on Tuesday night by scores of 25-23, 25-23 and … 25-23.
Tupelo (10-2), the Daily Journal’s No. 1-ranked team, was trailing 23-20 in both the first and second set.
“It was not pretty from either side,” Tupelo coach Laurie Bishop said. “It was not the most crisp volleyball that we’ve played or that we’ve seen this year. It’s just trying to find a way to get it done and work through the errors and mistakes that you’re not usually making.”
Maybe it wasn’t crisp, but there was plenty of good action at the net. Maggie Griggs and Alissa Hawes had eight kills apiece for the Lady Wave, while No. 3 Oxford (7-6) was paced by Ainsley Tacke’s 12 kills.
“Our defense just really wasn’t there tonight, but our hitters were able to see where everything should go, and we were able to put the balls down,” Griggs said.
Oxford was without several players, including four starters, due to COVID-19 exposure. That meant four freshmen were in the lineup, including two who had never played a varsity match.
Despite that, the teams were never separated by more than three points through the first two sets. And Oxford rallied in the third set, tying it at 23-23 before Tupelo finished it off.
Oxford coach Ashley Martin said mistakes added up.
“It’s a young team, and those mental mistakes are hard to bounce back from,” Martin said. “It’s something they’ll get better at, but they’re really young right now.”
Ivey Young had 14 digs for Tupelo, while Mallory Peters had 13 and Taylor Rogers had 12.
It’s the second time in four days Tupelo has beaten Oxford. The Lady Wave took a 2-1 win in the championship match of Saturday’s Tupelo Volleyfest.
The teams will meet again Monday at Tupelo.