Puckett storms back from two games down to stun Warren Central

Published 9:17 am Friday, August 12, 2022

PUCKETT — Through a couple of preseason scrimmages and one week of the regular season, Warren Central volleyball coach Matt Gullett sees some potential for this year’s team.

That makes results like Thursday’s even more frustrating.

The Lady Vikes dropped the last three games after winning the first two, and let a big early lead slip away in the fourth game, as they lost 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-4) to Class 2A powerhouse Puckett.

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“We’ve got a great team, but we shot ourselves in the foot. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. That’s all that was,” Gullett said.

Puckett (1-1), which reached the Class 2A finals in 2020 and the semifinals in 2021, finished the third game with a 12-1 run and then erased a 9-2 deficit in the fourth to win 25-19.

In the fifth and final game of the match, the Lady Wolves blitzed Warren Central after some early back-and-forth action. Puckett’s Ansley Allen finished with nine kills and Mallary Lemoine had seven. Brianna Murphy served seven aces.

“That’s what happened tonight, is they played amazing defense against us. We got frustrated. We got too repetitive on offense and it cost us,” Gullett said. “Then we got out of our defensive game, we let them get into their game, we let them get the momentum and that’s how it goes.”

The Lady Vikes split two preseason scrimmages against Ridgeland and Madison-St. Joseph, and have now dropped the first two regular-season matches vs. Clinton and Puckett.

Three of the four opponents reached the MHSAA playoffs in their respective classes last season, as did their next foe Pisgah. Warren Central plays Pisgah at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Gullett said the difficult early schedule is a way to prepare for a tough Region 6-6A slate and he’s liked the way the Lady Vikes have competed against it, even if they don’t have a win to show for their effort.

“Right now, I’m seeing things that I’m feeling good,” Gullett said. “My big thing is all of this right now, playing good competitive teams, I’m prepping the schedule so once we get to district we’ve played some competitive teams so that we can match up with Northwest (Rankin) and Pearl and Terry, get some wins in district, and hopefully get ourselves back in the playoffs where we want to be and should be.”

Gullett added that his seniors — Audrey Jennings, Sklyar Beard, Miranda Dixon, Ciearra Russell and Kat Wong — have stepped into prominent leadership roles on the team.

“We’ve been working on some things. Skylar and Audrey as a hitter-setter couple have been really working hard this summer. We ran several slides tonight that really paid off for us,” Gullett said. “All of my senior girls have been stepping it up. They’re doing good. They’re finding themselves pushed into leaders and they’re doing well. It’s all of them.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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