September 15, 2010 8:57:00 AM
The Starkville High School volleyball team beat Columbus High 3-0 and cruised to a quick win in its Legue 3, Region 2 opener Tuesday.
The set scores were 25-16, 25-3, 25-13.
Starkville (19-7, 1-0 region) beat Columbus ( 3-9, 0-2), setting up a Thursday home match with Tupelo for the region lead.
Starkville junior setter Wheeler Richardson recorded 20 assists, six aces, six digs and two kills to lead the Lady Jackets, whose only points conceded in the second set came from errors.
Starkville dominated Columbus, leading nearly the entire way outside of a pair of Lady Falcon 2-1 leads.
Elizabeth Scott had five kills and McKay Richardson had four kills for Starkville, which got a strong performance from its starters and bench players. Substitutes Jondia Weatherspoon and Tierra Tillman combined for five kills and pair of aces, while Priyanka Parajuli had five aces and four digs.
Starkville coach Lauren Love lauded her bench players'' efforts against Columbus and hopes the total effort continues in the last two weeks of the season.
"We''ve been in the gym and toward the end of the season the work they''re starting to put in is starting to pay off," Love said. "It''s carrying over on match day and we''re real proud of everybody who got in today. Everybody played their part."
For Columbus head coach Shay Ashford, her team''s loss was a mirror of what she''s seen all season. The Lady Falcons rallied to within 16-11 in the first set after a pair of aces and two kills. Columbus, but was outscored 9-2 to end the first set.
The dismal second-set effort that followed was disappointing, Ashford said.
"We typically play like that," Ashford said. "We''ll do good the first game, then we''ll lose the momentum the second game and we''ll get to the third game and struggle to get back over that hill. We have to work on shaking off a bad game and getting back in it. Just because we lose one game doesn''t mean we''ll lose the match. We haven''t grasped that concept yet."
Columbus was paced by Jabrai Jones with three kills, Amanda Hill with six assists and Zenobia Jones with six digs.
While Columbus struggled to regain its short-lived form, the Lady Jackets worked to maintain their strong attacking play. In the second set, they tallied four kills and six aces in the blowout second set.
"We definitely tried to keep up the momentum," Scott said. "It was a little hard because (Columbus) let up a little bit, but we had to keep going and not play on their level. We had to get excited even when it wasn''t exciting. We just had to keep it going."
Columbus returns to the court Tuesday at Tupelo before traveling to Starkville for a rematch on Sept. 28.