Despite not dropping a set in 22 tries so far this season, Oxford Lady Charger coach Ashley Martin would like to see her team get off to faster starts.
It didn’t turn out to be a problem this match as Oxford defeated the Starkville Lady Jackets 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-11) Tuesday night in the OHS Gym, but it’s one Martin knows it cannot become the norm going forward. During the Oxford Tournament last weekend, Lafayette managed to put up 23 points in the first set of their first of two meetings in the tournament, the closest set Oxford has played of the 22 so far. Pearl trailed Oxford at only 12-9 in the first set before reeling off 13 in a row, and New Hope was back and forth with Oxford in their first before pulling away scoring 12 of the last 14 points.
“I feel like in the first set we’ve struggled every single (match). I went back and watched film, (assistant) coach (Haylee) Lipe went back and watched film, our girls went back and watched film. Just like ‘what’s happening in that first set? What’s going on? Is it a lack of energy?’ When we get to the second and third sets we take off. We’re rolling after that.”
Oxford (9-0 overall, 1-0 in Division 3-6A) struggled to keep a serve, even though the Lady Chargers maintained a wire-to-wire lead in all three sets, they only led 12-10 in the first set before Martin called a timeout to refocus. Afterward, Oxford finished the set on a 13-5 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match over Starkville (4-5, 0-1).
From there on, Oxford used their service game to take control of the match to the tune of 11 service aces in the second set and easily took a 2-0 lead in the match winning the set 25-8. The Lady Chargers added another six aces in the third set, five of which came during the 12-point service run of Ainsley Tacke to go from a 7-5 lead to a 19-5 lead and not allow Starkville a chance for a comeback.
Oxford ended up with 30 kills and 21 aces on the night. Starkville did not have a service ace and only mustered up five kills as a team for the match. Tacke led the Lady Chargers with match-highs of eight kills and nine aces. Torrey Tkach added another seven kills in an efficient night on the floor. Bree Lyons also had five kills to lead the Oxford attack. Ava East had five service aces and four kills to complement the effort.