MADISON — It came down to the last set.
But in the end, it was DeSoto Central coming away with the 16-14 win in the fifth and final set and a 3-2 match win over Madison Central to claim the MHSAA Class 6A Volleyball North State Championship on Tuesday night in the all-Lady Jaguar matchup.
DeSoto Central (30-5) will face Brandon, which defeated Hancock 3-1 on the coast Tuesday, for the MHSAA Class 6A Volleyball State Championship Saturday night at 6 p.m. on this same court.
Brandon beat DeSoto Central for the 6A state title in 2017 and 2018. DeSoto Central is seeking their fourth state championship, with the last one coming in 2015.
“That was a great match between two really good teams,” said DeSoto Central coach Margaret Falatko. “We knew coming in we had to pass well, serve well and needed to execute.”
In the final set, DeSoto Central jumped out to 7-3 lead forcing Madison Central to call timeout. They extended the lead to 11-7, forcing Madison to call their final timeout.
Madison Central eventually tied the match at 14-14, but DeSoto Central got a block and Lindsey Cowart served up an ace that gave the Lady Jaguars the 16-14 win.
DeSoto Central raced out to a 25-20 win in the first set, but Madison Central came back to win the second set 25-23 and the third set 25-19.
“I told the girls we’ve been in this situation before and they had to go execute,” Falatko said. “The sets we lost we didn’t pass well … and if we don’t pass well we can’t run our offense and that’s what we try to do.”
DeSoto Central won the fourth set 25-16.
Armonie Silas, a Union University commit, had 19 kills and five digs to lead DeSoto Central, while Cowart had six aces and six digs. Kennedy Smith added 16 kills and six digs, while Megan Harris had 16 digs. Gracie Tacker had 35 assists and seven digs for DeSoto Central.
“I talked to the seniors a couple of days ago and I told them to bring their leadership. If we needed to score a point, I wanted Armonie or Gracie to put it away, but I’m so proud of the girls,” Falatko said. “It’s exciting to play for a state championship. To get another shot at one of these, the girls have worked so hard and want this championship.”
Madison Central finished the season 15-3.
“Both sides played their hearts out,” said Madison Central coach Valerie Thames. “Our plan was we were trying to cover their setter, but their outside hitters did what they had to do. I’m proud of the girls, they fought hard and came up short.”
— Brandon Shields
Volleyball semifinals roundup
There was plenty of other action around the state, as North and South State champions were crowned in nine other towns.
In 5A, Long Beach captured the South State Championship with a win in straight sets over South Jones. They’ll face North State Champion Lake Cormorant, which slipped past New Hope 3-2 Tuesday night.
That championship match is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Clinton.
In 4A, Pontotoc defeated Corinth 3-1 to win the North State title. They’ll face South State champion Vancleave, which swept Bay High Tuesday night. That match is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Clinton
In 3A, North State Champion Belmont will face South State Champion St. Andrew’s at 3 p.m. Saturday at Madison Central.
The 2A Championship will feature North State Champion Walnut and South State Champ Puckett at noon in Clinton. Walnut won a close 3-2 match against Mantachie Tuesday, and Puckett eased by East Marion 3-0.
The 1A Championship, set for noon Saturday at Madison Central, will pit North State Champion Hickory Flat against South State Champion Resurrection Catholic.
Hickory Flat defeated Ingomar 3-0 and Resurrection beat Sacred Heart 3-0 Tuesday night.
— Tyler Cleveland