Oxford volleyball shutout by DeSoto Central
Oxford faced their toughest competition of the season and some uncommon issues made the challenge even more difficult.
They proved to be too much to overcome as DeSoto Central defeated the Chargers 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-19) Tuesday night inside the OHS gym.
It was a litmus test for Oxford (8-3) to see where they stood against premier postseason competition with the season a month over and only a month before the playoffs begin.
The exam did not go as planned.
“We’re struggling on that third ball. Getting that last ball in,” Oxford head coach Kacie Hengler said. “I knew that our defense was our only chance against (DeSoto Central). I knew they had a strong hitting team. But, I don’t think they have a strong a defense as we do. So, I think that’s our upper hand if we face them again in the playoffs.”
Each set was eerily similar to the previous one as DeSoto Central (12-1) would gain a slight advantage before Oxford found some momentum to pull closer to but could never keep hold of it.
The Jaguars proved to be disruptive to Oxford’s outside hitters, which in turn caused Oxford to never be able to properly set up for any kind of offense.
“We struggled in areas we don’t normally struggle in,” Hengler said. “It will be helpful if we play them again that those girls won’t struggle and play their better game. …Getting outside was a struggle with our outside hitters. We weren’t moving the ball around enough.”
Grace Joyce led Oxford with 10 kills and seven digs. Jordan Freeze followed with six kills and a match-high 10 digs. Kate Sudduth and McClain Hill each finished with four digs.
Kennedy Schritenthal led the Jaguars with six kills and five digs. Mattie Meine had a team-high six digs while Loni Cook and Sydney Sides finished with five kills each.
A key stretch of games began on Tuesday with Oxford facing potential playoff teams in DeSoto Central and Tupelo in the next few weeks and they also dive into the heart of their Region 2- Class III schedule, hosting Columbus on Thursday and South Panola next weeks.
“It’s been tough lately because we’ve played some weaker teams then we play really good teams then we play weaker teams,” Hengler said. “Trying to sustain that momentum in practice and pushing hard through other games and making sure that we’re not slacking off during the easy teams. Making sure we’re still disciplined against those the weaker teams.”