Lyons, Tacke shine as Oxford volleyball clinches region

There were some really impressive individual performances on display for the Lady Chargers at the Oxford gym on Thursday night.

Oxford volleyball clinched 6A Region 2 on Thursday night with a 3-0 win over Hernando, securing their spot in the playoffs.

“We’ve gotten a lot more consistent and it’s helped us tremendously. Tonight was an example of that,” Hengler said. “This one will set us up really well. We’re getting it together going towards playoffs.”

For just a three-set match, a handful of Chargers posted some gaudy numbers in the win, many of them from the younger members of the squad. Freshman Brianna Lyons posted the elusive volleyball double-double, racking up 16 kills and 14 digs in the win.

Sophomore Ainsley Tacke recorded 16 kills and three digs, at one point totaling nine kills in the first set alone to set the tone. Not to be outdone was the Oxford elder statesman, libero Maggie Sudduth. Sudduth recorded 20 digs of her own.

“Like I said, it’s consistency for them,” Hengler said, talking about her younger members with a lot of contribution. “It’s learning their timing and where to be on the floor. That’s what you’re going to run into a lot of the time with young players. They’re getting there, and you saw that tonight.”

All in all, for a three-set match, it was one of the more competitive matches of the year for Oxford. The team had to rally from down 19-23 to win the first set 26-24. The second set was a little different, building up an early lead before hanging on for the 25-22 win. The third set was the perfect combination of the opening two, a back-and-forth effort won 25-22 by the Chargers.

On the season, Oxford hit a low spot midway through the year. At one point, they lost six in a row, part of a 2-8 stretch. Since that last loss on Sept. 14, Oxford is 4-0.

“After that last time we played Hernando, we kept getting injury after injury,” Hengler said. “It really wasn’t this version of us playing that whole time. But at the same time, those injuries really helped those other girls fill in the gaps and be better, all-around players. They had to do different things, and it made the JV stronger too.”

The Lady Charger varsity victory was preceded by one of their bigger junior varsity wins of the season. Oxford won the first set, before their comeback attempt came up short in the second. Coming back in the third set, they jumped up early, holding on to beat Hernando 15-10 in that final set.

With the win, the Chargers now have just six games remaining on the regular season slate. A win over Southaven on Oct. 8, their finial regional game remaining, would give them an undefeated regional slate.

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