Mansfield continues pursuit of perfection
One big obstacle remained for the Mansfield volleyball team in order to keep a perfect regular season intact.
The Lady Tigers found themselves down after the first set against the Charleston Lady Tigers on Monday. But Mansfield's Lady Tigers rallied to win the next three sets for a 18-25, 25-23, 25-10, 25-21 non-conference win on their home court.
Monday's win improved Mansfield to 14-0 on the season with three regular-season matches left.
Here are five takeaways from Mansfield's win:
1. A slow start
It took a while for Mansfield to get going against its former conference rival.
"We started off kind of slow at the beginning of the first set. ... The second set, we came out strong and honestly, after that second set, we pushed through and I thought that we fought hard,“ Mansfield coach Kaylie Pyles said.
”We realized that we were down one and we had to win the next three and the girls, they decided that they wanted it and they played to that limit."
Mansfield got a big night from senior middle hitter Brooke Wright, who had 16 kills and two blocks, along with serving five of the team's 15 aces and getting seven digs.
Skylynn Harris and Natalie Allison each had nine kills as well.
Mansfield also had three in double figures in digs (Kiara Thomas with 21, Haylee Helms with 19 and Natalie Allison with 11) and two in double figures in assists (Alllison with 19 and Madelen Jones with 18).
"Basically, I always tell the girls you have a specific role on this team and you know what your job is and you need to come out and do your job," Pyles said. "The girls know what their jobs are and they stepped up into that position (Monday) when it got going after that first set and they did what they were supposed to."
3. Clearing a hurdle
In her third season as Mansfield's coach, Pyles had never beaten Charleston.
So Monday's win was undoubtedly a special one for Pyles, the former Mansfield standout player.
"That was a really big win for us because that was our conference rival the last two years I had been coaching here, and since I've been here three years, we hadn't won against them and we did (Monday), so that's pretty awesome," Pyles said.
4. Road to perfection
Mansfield, which is 11-0 in 2A-West play, resumed conference play Tuesday with a match against Life Way Christian.
The Lady Tigers also play at home Thursday against Decatur and wrap up the regular season with a home match next Monday against Ozark Catholic Academy, both 2A-West matches as well.
Of those three remaining regular season opponents left, only Life Way Christian has a record of more than .500.
"Definitely in the next three matches, we should take those three wins and a perfect record going into the district and state tournaments, that being if we have a district tournament, so that's pretty amazing," Pyles said.
5. Winning ways
Mansfield's senior high isn't the only undefeated volleyball team in town. The junior high team is currently 11-0 and hasn't lost even a single set.
So combined, the senior high and junior high teams in Mansfield were 25-0 as of Monday.
"I owe it all to the girls and their hard work for sure," Pyles said.
Up Next: Charleston (8-5) played at Booneville on Tuesday and will go to Green Forest Thursday. Mansfield played at home Tuesday against Life Way Christian and will be at home Thursday to face Decatur.