PASCAGOULA - With four of his players in Friday night's homecoming court, Resurrection coach Keith Tucker was concerned the Lady Eagles might come out flat for Saturday's second round state playoff match against Salem.
However, Tucker's worries were unfounded as the Eagles swept aside the Wildcats 25-14, 25-6, 25-8 to advance to the Class I South State finals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"Homecoming can be a distraction," Tucker said, noting the honor of being in the homecoming court. However, he said his team came out focused and ready to play against Salem (21-6). "The girls came in ready and played well."
The Lady Crescents (22-12) beat East Marion 25-6, 25-10, 25-19. Emma Funk had 24 kills, Hannah Gest added 42 assists and five kills, Carsen Cuevas with 12 points. Mary Rimmer had seven kills and Alia Tayara scored 15 points.
OLA has been Resurrection's nemesis in recent years, knocking the Lady Eagles out of the South State two years ago and defeating Resurrection in the third round last year.
While the Eagles (28-4-1) have enjoyed one of the best seasons, the Crescents (22-12) are responsible for half of Resurrection's losses. OLA beat the Eagles in a close match 23-25, 27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 15-8 in Bay St. Louis on Sept. 22. OLA won another close battle in Pascagoula on Oct. 1, winning 25-18, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19.
With six consecutive wins since their last loss to OLA, including wins over Pascagoula, Vancleave, and Theodore (Ala.), Tucker thinks the Lady Eagles have worked out some issues in the losses against OLA.
"We hope to have tweaked our lineup a little to allow us to focus one some things we were deficient in against OLA," Tucker said. "We've played some good teams since our last loss and that should help us. The experience and leadership we have on this team should be able to carry us through.''
Jada Williams notched six kills and Icy Walley added three kills as Resurrection overcame a slow start to win the first game 25-14 before pulling away in the last two games.Williams finished the match with 20 kills, Walley added seven kills. Haley Thomas added six kills for the Eagles.