Ocean Springs’ volleyball team advanced to the second round for the fifth consecutive time under coach Brooke Engle on Thursday, sweeping aside Pearl 3-0 (25-9, 25-9, 25-8).
The Greyhounds (26-9) will play Tuesday in the second round against an undetermined opponent.
Amelia Moore led the way for Ocean Springs with 12 kills and nine aces. Amberly Blowers added eight kills in the Greyhounds attack. Abby Murrell had a solid all-around game for Ocean Springs with three aces, four kills, and 12 assists. Although she had only one ace to show for her efforts, Engle said Katie Rutland had a strong game serving for the Greyhounds, keying several long runs for Ocean Springs with her serves. She also had 15 assists for the game. And, Chloe Coulter added six kills for the Greyhounds.
Engle said after the game the Greyhounds have had a tendency to anticipate wins and not focus early in the matches against opponents, a tendency that has led to Ocean Springs’ comebacks in the fifth game for match wins and some match losses.
“We didn’t come in tonight and anticipate we were going to win,” she said. “We came in focused from the beginning and attacked. I am glad we showed up ready to play.”
Olivia Mosley had 10 kills to pace Pearl.
Although Engle led Ocean Springs to a South State berth her first year at the helm of the program, the last three years have seen Ocean Springs end its season at the second round.
“We have the talent to beat any team in the state,” Engle said. “Sometimes we read the name on the front of the team opposing us and we forget about us. But, when we remember our game, we are very good.”
Key to the Greyhounds post-season success will be Moore, who averages 4.3 kills per game and leads the team with 471 kills for the season. With a number of good, young players around Moore, Engle said she expects Ocean Springs to not only make a deep run in the playoff this year, but for many years to come.
“I’m excited about the future,” she said, “not just this year, but for many years to come. We have a lot of good athletic girls on our team and down through the eighth grade. We are going to be good for a lot of years to come.”