On Wednesday night, the Dutchtown Lady Griffins claimed their second straight district championship, and they did it the hard way.
On the road against parish rival East Ascension, Dutchtown dropped two straight sets to find themselves down 2-1, but they found a way to weather the storm.
The Lady Griffins responded with victories in the fourth and fifth sets that clinched the match and awarded them a share of the District 4 title.
“I’m very proud of them. This is the first Dutchtown volleyball team to win two district championships in a row," Lady Griffin head coach Patrick Ricks said. "It was even better the way we were able to do it tonight, fighting back from being down 2-1. We could have just given up, but we didn’t. They came out and did whatever it took to win in those last two sets.”
Dutchtown came out strong in the first set. A kill by Lauren Launey and block by India Bennett gave them a 10-4 lead. The advantage eventually swelled to 17-8.
Even after the Lady Spartans made a run late, a kill by Zoe Wooten helped put the set away in favor of Dutchtown, 25-17.
East Ascension came out on fire in the second. Some impressive kills by Diamond Jones put them ahead 12-3.
But Dutchtown continued to slowly chip away at the lead until a Wooten kill tied the set at 20.
From there, it appeared the Lady Griffins were poised to go up 2-0 as a block by Bennett gave them set point at 24-21.
But East Ascension won the frame by scoring five straight points. The final three were aces by Jones.
The Lady Spartans kept the momentum going in the third set. They raced out to a 7-2 lead and never looked back.
Truli Joseph scored the final point to give East Ascension a 25-13 victory.
One set away from defeat, Dutchtown stood firm in the fourth. A kill by Wooten helped them jump out to an 11-1 lead.
Even when East Ascension went on an 8-1 run later to trim the deficit to 18-14, Wooten was there to shut the door. Her kill put Dutchtown ahead by five, and they later pushed the match to five sets with a 25-20 victory.
In the final frame, the Lady Griffins jumped out to another big lead as they put East Ascension in an 8-2 hole.
A block by Bennett got them within four points of winning, and a Launey kill helped close it out at 15-6.
“I thought that our services were a lot better, and that allows us to control the net. When we can get on the net and hit, I think we’re really good team," Ricks said. "We couldn’t do that in the third set because of our serving. East Ascension did a great job. They served the ball well. Diamond got hot, and the rest of the team supported her. It was a great match all the way around.”
Dutchtown's Kristyn St. Pierre led both teams in assists with 37.
Wooten had a team-high 16 kills for the Lady Griffins, and Launey had 11. Bennett had 10 blocks.
Playing in her final home regular-season game, Jones led the Spartans with a match-high 23 kills and 10 digs. Joseph chipped in with 18 digs and 13 kills.
The victory allowed Dutchtown to share another district title. Last year, they shared it with both East Ascension and St. Amant.
This year, they'll share it with the Lady Gators. Both teams finished with one district defeat. They split their two meetings.
“I really enjoy this team. This is a really fun team to coach," Ricks said. "It’s a great group of girls, a great coaching staff and we’re getting a ton of support from the administration. It’s a great time to be a part of Dutchtown Griffin volleyball.”