Lady Vikes continue volleyball dominance against Vicksburg

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Vicksburg High took a game from Warren Central. An entire match will have to wait until next time.

The Missy Gators rallied to take the third game, but was swamped in the fourth and lost 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 23-25, 25-11) in the latest installment of Warren County’s volleyball rivalry series on Tuesday.

It was Warren Central’s 25th consecutive victory against Vicksburg, and only the fourth time in that streak that Vicksburg has won a game.

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“I think the rivalry between the two teams plays into it and sometimes we put in a lot more hustle. But (Vicksburg) did hustle a lot tonight,” said Warren Central’s Ellie Henderson, who had a team-high 15 kills and served four aces.

Warren Central easily won the first two sets, then Vicksburg rallied in the third. It raced to a quick 6-2 lead, stabilized things after Warren Central scored eight of the next nine points, and then closed it out by scoring four of the last six points after it was tied 21-all.

“It’s all about communication. A lot of people didn’t expect us to play Warren Central to four sets and then take it almost to 20,” Missy Gators coach Deborah Brown said. “I told them you’ve got to get in that gym and leave it on the floor. I think out of 12 years of volleyball at Vicksburg, this is the best we’ve ever played them.”

Vicksburg’s rally continued into the fourth game, as it took an early 8-7 lead. Then Calise Henyard stepped up to serve and put Warren Central back in control.

The Lady Vikes won 10 consecutive points with Henyard serving, with several of those coming as aces, to take a 17-8 lead. Henyard finished with five aces for the match, to go along with 10 kills. Warren Central had 15 aces as a team.

“Calise came in there serving like a madwoman. She gripped it and ripped it and put a lot of pressure on them. Her serving tonight was tremendous,” WC coach Matt Gullett said. “She’s been a hidden gem for us. She always had the power, but finding the court and getting that finesse was a problem. She started to incorporate that tonight. She started feeling her oats and was smoking the ball in there.”

The Lady Vikes closed out the match by scoring seven points in a row, capped by a kill from Henderson at the net.

“I think we did not want to take it into a fifth set. I think were just wanting to get home, so we went ahead and just put it down on them,” Henderson said.

Melissa Herrle added 10 kills, 17 assists and three aces for the Lady Vikes (16-8, 3-1 MHSAA Region 2-6A). KK Kelly had five kills.

Makynzie Dunmore had more than a dozen blocks at the net for Vicksburg (6-4, 1-4), which will host Callaway Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It’ll get its next shot at beating Warren Central on Sept. 28.

As nice as continuing the dominance of their crosstown rival was, Gullett said getting a region win was even better. Warren Central has a two-game lead in the race for a playoff spot and will go on the road to play Neshoba Central (9-4, 4-1) on Thursday in a match that could determine one of the top two seeds from Region 2-6A. The first- and second-place teams from each region host matches in the first round of the playoffs.

“The district win is big,” Gullett said. “We came in wanting to compete in district, do well in district, get into the playoffs, hopefully host a playoff game. The gym is getting close to completed. It was a good win.”

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 140-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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