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Three-peat? Brandon volleyball heads back to state championship

The Lady Bulldogs beat Ocean Springs to advance to its fourth-straight state championship match

BRANDON — Brandon is heading back to the state championship match.Behind a consistent outside hitting attack the Lady Bulldogs swept Ocean Springs 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-23) to claim the MHSAA Class 7A South State Championship on Monday night.

Brandon (38-4) will face Lewisburg for the Class 7A State Championship on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Ole Miss Gillom Athletics Performance Center.

“My girls have had extra motivation because my mother passed away last week and ever since they’ve came to practice with a determination to do what it takes,” said Brandon coach Kelsa Walker. “They came out tonight to give their best to honor to my mom.”

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The first set was back-and-forth in the beginning, but Brandon ended the opening set on a 12-0 run to take the set 25-10.

The second set was a mirror image of the first set as the Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Ocean Springs cut into the lead at 10-7, but Brandon went on a 15-5 run to end the set 25-12 and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

The third set was back-and-forth with each team trading leads to begin the set, however midway through Brandon took a 17-13 lead. 

After an Ocean Springs timeout, the Lady Greyhounds clawed back to take a 20-18 lead, but the Lady Bulldogs used the outside hitting of Emma Livingston and Emily Davis to end the match on a 7-3 run to take the final set 25-23 and sweep the match.

“I kept telling my setters to feed the outsides. Our outside hitters were literally on fire, and they had no answer,” Walker said. “Our four seniors took over because they knew it was their last game on this court and they finished on top tonight.”

Davis, a Southern Miss signee and Miss Volleyball for Class 7A, had 19 kills and 17 digs for Brandon. Emma Livingston added 14 kills, Avery Power had 17 digs, Cambell Herrington had 19 digs and Fisher Enis had 23 assists for the Lady Bulldogs.

“The matchup with Lewisburg is going to be very tough," Walker said. "They’re very similar to us. They've got two powerful outsides and it’s going to be a dog fight.”

Ocean Springs finished the season 27-7. The Lady Greyhounds were in the South State Championship round for the fourth straight season.

“Defense is what really separated. They wouldn’t let the ball drop and they kept the ball live and we couldn’t put the ball down,” said Ocean Springs Christina Daigle. 

“Their outside hitter hurt our defense with those line shots and that’s something they do consistently and we knew it was coming and make the adjustments and we didn’t do that tonight.”