Oxford volleyball team seeks second straight state championship game appearance


Aidan Patel, sports editor

After falling one set short of a championship, the Oxford volleyball team is motivated to get back to the state title game. They are aiming for their second straight title game appearance after a historic 2021 season. The Chargers finished last year’s season at 29-3, which includes their heartbreaking loss to Brandon in the final set of the state championship.

OHS volleyball started their 2022 campaign with another dominant nine game winning streak to open up the new season.

Head coach Ashley Martin is coaching her second season with the Chargers, and has got off to another great start.

“I love the student section and all of the fans. I think it is such a cool and fun atmosphere that brings so much energy to the gym,” Martin said.

Senior middle hitter and Southern Miss commit Torrey Tkach talked about how this year’s team has developed throughout the offseason and has prepared for the fall.

“I think a lot of things have changed going into this season. We have been able to run different hitters throughout the game, not just relying on one person. Some players are also learning new positions to switch things up between sets. The pressure is on but I’m confident we can handle the upcoming challenges ahead. I think the team has reacted with determination to do whatever it takes to reach our goal. Everyone works hard whether it’s in school or out of
school,” Tkach said.

Senior outside hitter Bree Lyons praised how well the team has worked to get ready for this season.

“I’ve seen a lot of my teammates step up into big leadership roles more this offseason than I’ve ever seen out of them. I think we all realized this is the season we can make another run for it. I don’t think there’s anything that could stop us. This year we’ve built a really supportive atmosphere on the team. We have all stepped up in our leadership roles and helped build a better program,” Lyons said.

Sophomore setter Claire Wicker also touched on how last year’s tough
ending has driven the Lady Chargers for this season.

“I feel like the loss at state last season is a big motivator for us. Our mindsets have changed a lot from last season to this one. We’re all focused on getting us back to state. As of now, every game from now until the playoffs is a chance for us to get better and become stronger as a team,” Wicker said.

Coach Martin has plenty of experience with volleyball programs as she spent time at Abilene Christian University in Texas and two other schools in Mississippi. She is building a special culture in the volleyball program at Oxford.

“At the end of the day, I want to make sure that each individual athlete that I coach is able to be successful at the next step of their life whether that be going to college to play volleyball or going to college for academics. I want them to go into life and know the challenges and adversity they faced helped them to become better individuals. The team culture is a ‘We Over Me’ mentality. The team is very good at supporting each other and having one another’s back,” Martin said.