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Lafayette, Oxford have success at Set It Off tourney

It was a productive weekend in Jackson for both Oxford and Lafayette’s volleyball teams. The Chargers and Commodores competed in the annual Set It Off tournament against a field that contains a lot of top-tier talent from around the state.

The two-day tournament began on Friday with pool play and finished up on Saturday with the bracket portion. All matches were best-of-three.

Down two key players, the ‘Dores managed to work their way through the Silver Championship bracket and came away with a runner-up finish. In pool play Lafayette (5-1) swept Murrah 2-0 (25-17, 25-9) in their opening match and then defeated Alcorn Central 2-1 (25-12, 18-25, 15-11) to head into bracket play undefeated.

On Saturday Lafayette swept Hickory Flat (25-20, 25-16) in the quarterfinals and Hillcrest Christian (25-22, 25-19) in the semifinal round.

The championship match was against Region 4-Class II foe Caledonia. Lafayette fell to the Lady Confederates 2-1 (21-25, 29-27, 8-15).

The Commodores were short-handed with Xhiir Burgess and Mariah Holland away at a basketball camp.

“I was really proud of how our seniors stepped up without Xhiir and Mariah,” Lafayette coach Clint Jordan said. “Everyone played at a different level and competed every ball. Our two (junior varsity) players came in and gave us energy. It was fun watching our older players take ownership and younger players making plays.”

Chargers defeat the champs
Oxford bounced back from their season-opening loss at Tupelo last Thursday in a big way. Less than 24 hours after being swept by the Golden Wave the Chargers swept the defending Class III champion Brandon (27-25, 25-17).

The rest of the tournament was a struggle for the Chargers, who dropped the rest of their matches. After beating Brandon, Oxford (1-4) fell to Starkville 2-1 (25-11, 22-25, 11-15) in their final pool play match.

“After losing to Tupelo Thursday night, the girls were upset they let their nerves and first game jitters get the best of them,” Oxford coach Kacie Hengler said. “The girls were determined to not let the same thing happen again (against Brandon). They came out strong. We served tough, we passed well, we dug and blocked balls that they didn’t know they were capable of. They played like a team.”

On Saturday Oxford was swept by Madison Central (16-25, 9-25) and Oak Grove (24-26, 17-25) to close out their tournament.

“Overall, I was proud of the girls,” Hengler said. “They did something they never thought possible in beating Brandon.”

Both teams return to action on Tuesday when Lafayette travels to Cleveland Central (6:30 p.m.) and Oxford heads to Lewisburg (6 p.m.)