Oct. 14—A tough schedule doesn't make for a glimmering record, but it can lead to something even shinier.
Regents School of Oxford cruised to the MAIS Division III state volleyball title on Thursday in Clinton. The Lions (18-15) topped West Memphis Christian in straight sets, 25-15, 25-10, 25-9.
MAIS normally holds an all-class championship, but a few weeks ago it decided to divide playoff teams into three groups: Class 6A (Division I), Class 5A (Division II), and then Classes 4A and below (Division III).
Regents, a 2A school, played a brutal schedule to prepare for an overall tournament.
"We were overprepared," coach Kacie Hengler said. "We planned to play against all the 5A, 6A schools in MAIS. ... It wasn't a surprise today at how they showed up."
As it was, Regents had a first-round bye. It beat Hillcrest Christian 3-0 (25-9, 25-18, 25-17) in the second round on Tuesday to advance to the finals.
Jamya Fondren, the Lions' lone senior, had 14 kills and seven digs against West Memphis.
"Our goal was to really make this memorable, especially for Jamya, because it's her senior year, and she's my only senior. We utilized her a lot," Hengler said.
Lauren Niemeyer had 11 kills, while Myla Meurrier recorded 32 assists.
This is the first state title for a girls team at Regents. Hengler, who's in her second year as coach, has a young but heavily tested squad, one with a bright future.
"At the beginning of last year, I wouldn't have said this is where we would be in such a short period of time," she said. "... We have a long road of success ahead of us."