As up and down as this season has gone, one thing that has remained consistent is Oxford’s play during Division 2-6A matches.
The Oxford Lady Chargers defeated the Southaven Lady Chargers 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-9) Tuesday night in the OHS Gym. This home match was moved from October 1 to Tuesday after Southaven was forced to quarantine due to COVID-19 contact tracing. The return trip to Southaven will occur October 1.
Oxford (9-7 overall, 4-0 in Division 2-6A) pulled away from Southaven (1-5, 0-2) in the first set as Oxford’s front row attackers kept hammering at Southaven defensively until the home-standing Lady Chargers got through with a kill. Southaven was unable to retaliate with an organized attack, mustering just 12 kills as a team in the match.
Southaven was able to generate better play in the second set, gathering a 15-11 lead before Oxford coach Ashley Martin put in Madison Jones, one of several players and starters that had been in quarantine for Oxford the past two weeks, and went on a service run of seven points to take back control of the set. Jones did an excellent job executing two different serves from a straight-line hard serve to a soft serve that drops just past the net, keeping the Southaven players on their heels.
“I thought (Jones) did a really good job of mixing those serves up,” Martin said. “She’s been doing it a little short, a little deep. Making sure they were dropping. Everyone has been working on (serve-receive) a little bit more. Mixing those serves up to be a little more consistent with the changes so opponents won’t be expecting (the same serve) as much.”
It wasn’t just the second set Jones’ serve took control in, Southaven was unable to stop her serve for a nine point stretch in the third set after Oxford already had a 14-6 lead in the set, allowing Oxford to take a dominating lead and have the match come to a screeching halt.
Oxford was led with the 13 kill and four dig performance of Bree Lyons. Catherine Bianco helped out with six kills and 10 digs. Sara Kate Bundren led Oxford defensively with 11 digs. Ava East tacked on seven kills while Ainsley Tacke had a relatively quiet night with just five kills, but had seven digs defensively.
Oxford will be looking to clinch the Division 2-6A title on Thursday when they travel to Hernando. A win will not just clinch a playoff berth, but the one-seed from the Division. Varsity is slated to start at 6 p.m.