by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Going to places they have never been before was a theme for this year’s Pass Christian High School Volleyball team.  Winning three out of four playoff games and losing a hard fought 3-0 contest against the Pontotoc Lady Warriors 25-22, 25-17, 5-20 for the MHSAA 4A State Championship was the historical step for the program.

“It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, but no less I’m proud of my girls,” said Pass Christian Head Volleyball Coach Kendra Bensch.  “We made a lot of progress this season and hope to continue that next year.  I think the moment was big and there were a lot of nerves going into it.”

Not only playing in the first state title game, but the Lady Pirates (13-13) accomplished quite a bit this year; including being the first Pass Christian High Volleyball team to win the 4A South State Title and be victorious in a home playoff game.

The Lady Pirates beat Sumrall High School in the second round of the MHSAA playoffs in the Pass High gymnasium.

“Hats off to Pontotoc, they were a good team and had been last year,” stated Bensch.  “We fought hard and in the end just came up a bit short of that final trophy.  We will miss the seniors and wish them all the best in their future plans.”

In the state title game Saturday at Ridgeland High School, the Lady Pirates fought to a 17-16 lead, but the Lady Warriors picked up eight of the next 10 points to take the 24-19 lead in the first set.

After Pass Christian scored three quick points to make it 24-22, Pontotoc junior Mollie Rackley hammered home a kill to seal the set.

The Lady Warriors picked up the second set pretty easily 25-17 and just like the other two sets, the Lady Warriors put together a big run to separate. Pontotoc led it 24-17 before Pass Christian put together a couple of good points in a row, but the Lady Warriors finally drove home the final nail for a 25-20 win to secure the sweep.

Pass Christian played well, but just couldn’t ever break through. They put together a couple of key runs, including in the first set after losing middle blocker Kylah Bell to an ankle injury for several points.

Before the game, Pass Christian High Student-Athlete Makayla Lynn Crimm received the scholar athlete award.

As far as the future for the Lady Pirates, Coach Bensch will move on.

“I will be handing over the coaching duties to my assistant coach next season, so that I can spend more time with my family,” expressed Bensch.  “I will definitely continue to be their biggest fan.”