KILN, MS (WLOX) - Hancock captured the 2016 Class III State Volleyball Championship and is hoping to claim back-to-back titles. The Region 8 champs battle the Lady Greyhounds, the Region 7 champs, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ocean Springs.
Volleyball at Hancock High School has flourished since coach Rick Rechtien took over the Lady Hawks program in 2011. His 2013, '14 and '15 teams were state runners up. Last season Hancock won-it-all.
Over their last 20 games this year, the 25 and 7 Lady Hawks have posted 17 wins and 3 defeats. One of their 7 defeats was to Ocean Springs. In three matches with the Lady Greyhounds, the Lady Hawks have flown under the win column twice. But Hancock respects the talent of Ocean Springs.
Coach Rechtien said, "Ocean Springs is big. They're huge. They play well. We're definitely not overlooking them. We've got to stay focused."
6-foot-5 senior Amelia Moore is the key player for the 25-9 Lady Greyhounds. She has 423 kills and 202 digs on the season. 6-foot sophomore Kaytie Rutland has 133 kills and a team-leading 76 blocks for Ocean Springs. Adding more height to the Lady Greyhounds lineup is 6-foot-2 sophomore Amberly Blowers.
Hancock senior Madison Ladner, who has 343 kills agrees, knows Ocean Springs will present a challenge for the defending champs.
"That's going to be a tough game and if we make it to the Final Four, we're going to have to go through DeSoto and that's going to be another tough game, "said Ladner.
5-foot-7 Karringten Perkins has great leaping ability and played a key role in Hancock sweeping George County on Thursday.
Perkins said, "We're a solid team all-around. We have solid setters, solid hitters. Our blocking is decent. Our back row is awesome."
Maleah Austin, Catie Ladner and Bella Thoennes all add to a solid Lady Hawks volleyball team.
Class II Playoffs:
Vancleave (26-6) travels to Hattiesburg (18-4) for a 6 p.m. confrontation with the home standing Lady Tigers.
Class I Playoffs:
Our Lady Academy has been a dynasty in the Class III volleyball ranks. Head coach Mike Myers and his defending state champion Crescents are taking aim on their 12th state title. OLA (31-4) is on the road at East Marion (22-1) for a 6 p.m. clash.
Resurrection (21-7) travels to Tylertown 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Lady Eagles battle Salem (12-10).