High School Sports

Hancock clinches berth in Class III state volleyball finals

Hancock’s Catie Ladner
Hancock’s Catie Ladner Hancock High school

Hancock volleyball coach Rick Rechtien called time out twice when his team was struggling against Tupelo during the HHSAA Class III semifinals Friday.

What he told his team seemed to work because the Lady Hawks swept three sets 25-21, 25-17, 25-17.

Hancock, second ranked in the state according to MaxPreps, will play top-ranked Oak Grove at 4:30 p.m. today at Millsaps College for the title.

The first time out came with Hancock trailing 10-4 in the opening set.

“It was just nerves, Rechtien said. “I told them to take a deep breath.”

Hancock finished the game on a 6-0 run, including two kills by Madison Ladner.

The second time out came after Tupelo scored four straight points to tie the third set at 13-13. “We lost focus,” he said. “We gave away four points on a row.”

With focus regained, Hancock finished the match on a 12-4 run.

Ladner and Rylee Swilley, the only senior on the roster, led the Lady Hawks with 16 kills each. Catie Ladner is another big-time player for the Lady Hawks.

Hancock is 35-3, but lost twice to Oak Grove.

“We have to be more consistent,” Rechtien said.

Oak Grove advanced by outlasting DeSoto Central in five sets.

Tupelo finishes 25-7.