High School Sports

OLA, Hancock each competing for state titles

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Our Lady Academy's Alia Tayara hopes to help the Lady Crescents defend their state title today at Germantown.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Our Lady Academy's Alia Tayara hopes to help the Lady Crescents defend their state title today at Germantown.

Our Lady Academy and Hancock are playing for the Class I and Class III volleyball state championships on Saturday at Germantown High School.

OLA will face St. Andrew's (21-13) at 11 a.m. Hancock will face Desoto Central at 3 p.m.

In the 16 years that Mike Meyers has coached OLA, his teams have won several state championships, including the last three titles.

"St. Andrew's was the second team in district," Meyers said. "They beat St. Joseph's to advance. We actually played St. Andrew's earlier this year in a tournament and we beat them."

The Crescents went undefeated in division play this season, despite having only two returning players from the state championship team.

"We're coming off of three years where I had a very experienced group of players that won 120 games and three titles," Meyers said. "From that group, we only had two starters return -- Emma Funk and Mary Rimmer. It was a very inexperienced team. It's a been a lot of fun watching them grow and gain confidence through the season."

Funk and Rimmer have led the Crescents in scoring all season, averaging double digits in service points and kills.

Meyers doesn't expect the team's lack of experience in big games will affect their play.

"We work very hard in practice and we talk a lot about what when you get to the game, that's the time to have fun," he said. "You just do the things in the game that you learned in practice."

Desoto Central (31-6-1) defeated Hancock in last year's Class III finals.

"We lost to Desoto Central last year in the state championship," Hawks coach Rick Rechtien said. "This is a rematch of last year's game. They are a very disciplined team and play a very fundamental game."

Rechtien, who spent several seasons as an assistant to Meyers at OLA, also has a young squad, many of whom who have not played in a title match. But they have worked hard.

"We've been putting a lot of pressure on them in certain situations and we've been working with them," he said. "They've played 40 matches this year,I think they've seasoned themselves very well."

The Hawks had their share of injuries this season, including to starting setter Madison Ladner.

"Ladner came back the other night and she had a great night," Rechtien said. "She had 61 assists. She's still a little hobbled -- she's about 90 percent."

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