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Lafayette volleyball outlasts Pontotoc in region opener

After floundering for over a week, a gut check moment might have turned Lafayette’s season around.

The Commodores defeated Pontotoc 3-1 (25-13, 24-26, 25-15, 25-17) in their Region 4-Class II opener inside the Lafayette High School gym on Thursday.

The win snapped a two-match losing skid after losses to Lewisburg and Corinth.

“We were in a bit of a funk,” Lafayette head coach Clint Jordan said. “I’m glad to see us play hard, play together and play to win every ball.”

After a fairly easy opening set and taking an early 1-0 lead, Lafayette seemed to have things in cruise control with a 19-9 lead in the second set.

Then, the Lady Warriors stole the momentum, using a 14-1 run to steal the second set and tie things up at 1-all.

The third set began to mirror the second when the score was once again 19-9 in favor of the Lady ‘Dores.

Lafayette (7-3, 1-0 Region 4-Class II) withstood Pontotoc’s (5-3, 1-1) small charge to win sets three and four to claim the match.

“That’s the one thing we’ve talked about as a team is to make sure to control our side of the net,” Jordan said. “I think for the first time we kind of understand that in order to be as good as we want to be, we can’t allow that to happen.

“(The third set) was the set I was worried about because you collapsed (in the second set) then you take a big lead. We were up 12 to 4 (in the third set) and thought this will be the time we either grow up and we say ‘nope, we’re not letting it happen’ or we revert to it again. We put our foot down,” Jordan said.

Pontotoc’s Taylor Hughes gave Lafayette fits all match. The 6-foot-3 senior used her size to be a wall at the net, recording eight kills and blocking numerous Commodore attacks.

“(Taylor) makes things hard,” Jordan said. “When she’s in the game she makes us change what we do. Our girls had a little trouble at the beginning adjusting to her size. We talked about it, but it’s one thing to talk about it and another thing to see it.”

Lafayette’s Mariah Holland finished with 14 kills, and freshman Kailey Gooch recorded 13.

Xhiir Burgess and Sarah Rae Goolsby had 7 kills each.

The Commodores will be on the road next week with a match at New Albany on Monday.

Next Thursday, Lafayette will travel to Caledonia for a region match.