By Datti Jinkiri
The Long Beach Lady Bearcats volleyball team are back on the court for another season. The perennial volleyball powerhouse finished as the finalists in the MHSAA Class 5A State Championship last year, and they will be looking to compete once again for another title this season.
The Lady Bearcats finished the 2020 season with a 12-7 record and defeated East Central and South Jones in the playoffs before falling to Lake Cormorant in the state championship game. However, the ladies added to storied history of volleyball in Long Beach and captured their second consecutive South State Championship.
Head Coach Rebecca Tillman has had a lengthy coaching resume in the sport of volleyball. She has sixteen years of experience and has coached the Lady Bearcats to multiple South State Championships.
“We’ve practiced hard this summer,” Tillman said. “We’ve played in a few scrimmage games, and I think the players have gained some confidence from those experiences. There has been steady progress.”
Tillman saw seven seniors graduate from last year's team, so this season will be a rebuilding year of sorts for the Lady Bearcats. However, she is positive about the group of players that will be stepping up this year.
“I have a couple of defensive specialists and a middle to take over the leadership of the team,” she stated. “We also have a few juniors and sophomores that will be starting on the varsity team. They are fun to watch and will do great things. They'll just need time to build comraderie.”
The Lady Bearcats' district opponents this season are Hattiesburg, West Harrison, and Picayune. They opened their season with a non-district home match against Resurrection on August 10th.
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