Oxford sweeps Southaven to reach North Half semis

Published 8:36 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Oxford volleyball moved one step closer to a state title on Tuesday as they took care of business in the second round of the 6A playoffs with a sweep of Southaven (25-6, 25-10, 25-8).

The Lady Chargers dominated through all three sets as they cruised to a victory behind strong performances from outside hitter Bree Lyons and middle blocker Torrey Tkach.

Lyons, who set the school record for career kills last week, posted a match-high nine kills to go along with six digs.

Tkach recorded a modest six kills and five digs in the sweep, but made her presence felt throughout the match with superb serving.

The senior Southern Miss commit posted eight aces on the night—picking her spots effectively and keeping Southaven off-balance with a potent blend of power and precision.

“I thought she did a really good job, she’s been working really hard on having good, aggressive serves,” said head coach Ashley Martin. “We’ve really been talking about that in practice a lot—needing to get your first serve over aggressively and then watch and observe the court.”

Oxford managed to keep Southaven’s offense in check throughout the match with superb team defense and aggressive attacks that left Southaven searching for answers as the points piled up.

“I thought we did a good job of putting the ball away, especially in the first and second set,” Martin said. “In the third set, I didn’t think we were as strong, didn’t get as many kills but I thought we did a good job in the first and second set of putting the ball away very well.”

The Chargers also celebrated an important milestone in the match as setter Claire Wicker joined Catherine Bianco as the only players in school history to reach 1,000 career assists.

She achieved the feat midway through the second set, and was recognized with a standing ovation and hugs from teammates.

“I was really excited, [to be honored] in front of our students, our parents during a playoff game, I mean that’s just big,” Wicker said. “It feels so good to have people supporting me like that.”

Wicker, who stepped into the starting setter role as a sophomore for Oxford this year, now sits 44 assists away from becoming the first player in school history to eclipse 1,000 assists in a single season with 956 on the year.

She will have a chance to reach that mark on Thursday as the Lady Chargers play host to Madison Central in the third round of the playoffs.

The Jaguars won a five-set thriller against Region 1-6A champion Lewisburg in the second round on Tuesday, and now travel to Oxford for their first matchup of the season.

The Lady Chargers will take on the Jaguars at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the Oxford High School Gymnasium.