OXFORD – When Our Lady Academy takes the court on the campus of Ole Miss on Friday with an almost unbelievable 41-4 record, the reigning 3A state champions will be going after its 16th state championship in the past 20 years.
The Crescents will be playing Alcorn Central (31-5), the same team they defeated last year in the championship game.
The 3A South State champions have a number of things going in their favor going into this game. For starters, they defeated Alcorn Central earlier this season. Secondly, they have been playing great, demonstrated by a 22-game win streak in the second half of the season.
On the other side of the net, Alcorn Central, the 3A North State champions have also been playing quite well, racking up 13 wins in their last fourteen outings. Alcorn Central is also the team that defeated OLA in the state championship two years ago.
“We know that those wins don’t mean anything for the match tomorrow,” said Crescents coach Emily Corley. “We have prepared the girls for a tough match and keep reminding them to relax on the court and play the same way they have all season.”
Ten of the players on this squad were on the team that competed in the finals last season. They are Myah Favre, Ava Alonso, Kinsley, Jean Stegall, Casey Hanrahan, Laney Fletcher, Emma Cleveland, Julia Hoffman, Gabby Haas and Reagan Krebs. So, in addition to their record, they bring a great deal of experience into tomorrow’s final.
“Our team is very excited to have the opportunity to play in the State Championship again,” said Corley. “They have worked all season to make it here and are ready to play.”
In addition to winning her first state championship as a coach of the Crescents last season, Corley has been around a number of state championships, working as an assistant to her father, Mike Meyers. He coached the OLA volleyball team to fourteen state championships.
Corley played volleyball during her father’s first years as the volleyball coach. She also played soccer. She was a member of three state championship soccer teams while at OLA, during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She earned a scholarship with the Mississippi State University soccer team, lettering four years and starting as goalkeeper during her junior and senior years.
Meyers will be on the bench when the Crescents meet Alcorn Central. He said that to be able to work with his daughter is very special.
“It is really cool to get to work with your daughter,” said Meyers. “Wo do well together. Emily does all the really hard stuff, scheduling and dealing with people and putting stuff together. I get to come out and just coach and be around the young ladies and have the fun of coaching. But it’s very special for me to do that with my daughter, who played sports through college coming up, and then to be able to sit and talk to her about things that are happening on the court.”
The 3A State Championship game begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. In addition to family members and fans, OLA will send a student bus to provide additional support for the players.