RIPLEY -  Nothing came easy last Thursday for the Ripley Lady Tigers. In fact, their sloppy play helped guide Div. 1-4A member Tishomingo County to 3-0 win to put a damper on one of the Lady Tigers' preseason goals of making the playoffs. 

The Lady Braves won in straight sets: 25-15, 25-18 and 25-23.

"We just didn't show up," said Ripley head coach Greg Dillard. "We didn't pass the ball. Our hitting was a little bit better but our serve-receive, I don't know, we seem a little confused. We do it every game but tonight it seemed like we didn't know where we were going or what we were suppose to be doing. It was a weird game and (Tishomingo County) wanted it more than we did."

The Lady Braves controlled the first two sets with relative ease with wins of 25-15 and 25-18. In the third set, Ripley seemed to show more signs of life, leading to a closely contested third set. The Lady Tigers built a 5-1 lead behind a pair of blocks from Alex Green, a Sarah Catherine Childs' ace and a kill from Peyton Shappley. Tishomingo County quickly responded with a 5-0 run to to take a 6-5 lead. 

Later in the third set, an Autumn Griffin block knotted the score at 17-17 before a quick 3-0 spurt from the Lady Braves put them back in control. After trading points, Ripley bounced back to tie the game at 21-21 with a service error by Tishomingo County and aces from Griffin and Childs. 

Tied at 22-22, the Lady Braves threw the knockout punch with 3-1 run to close it, all on three attacking errors by the Lady Tigers. 

Ripley has now lost their last two Div. 1-4A matches in straight sets to fall to (9-6, 1-2) on the season. The Lady Tigers still have one division match remaining on the schedule with North Pontotoc, New Albany and Tishomingo County as well as a pair of matches with 1-4A leader Corinth. With only the top two teams eligible for playoffs, the Lady Tigers have a tough hill to climb.

"Anything can happen," claimed Dillard. "We have to keep playing every game like it's our last and hope for the best."

dillon.barnes@journalinc.com

Twitter: @SS_Sports_

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