Our Lady Academy and Hancock High begin defense of their state volleyball championships Thursday.
The state volleyball playoffs gets underway at 6 p.m. Tuesday night as Long Beach travels to McComb. The nine other Coast teams play Thursday.
OLA hosts McLaurin in a Class I first-round contest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. In the other Class I involving a Coast team, Resurrection travels to Puckett at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Lady Crescents (29-4) are favored to win a 12th state title, a Mississippi record. The OLA players have always embraced the title expectations.
“We have another great of young ladies and we had an outstanding regular season,” OLA coach Mike Meyers said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to compete in the state playoffs. Hopefully, the experience we gained from playing a very tough regular season schedule will have us prepared.”
Five Coast teams qualified for the Class III playoffs, including a head-to-head contest between defending champion Hancock and George County at 6 p.m. Thursday in Kiln.
“We haven't played as well as we could have,” Lady Hawks coach Rick Rechtien said. “We had players miss for injuries, illnesses and family tragedies. We have been working very hard lately and I like our chances.”
Here are the other three opening-round contests: Gulfport at Oak Grove at 6 p.m.; Ocean Springs hosts Pearl at 5 p.m. and Pascagoula visits Brandon at 6 p.m.
Long Beach moved its game to Tuesday because of homecoming festivities scheduled for Thursday.
The other two Class II first-round matchups are East Central at Germantown and Ridgeland at Vancleave. Both matches start at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Second round action takes place on Oct. 24. Mississippi State is hosting the semifinals for all three Classes on Oct. 26. The semifinals will be played on Oct. 26, with the finals Oct. 28.