Northlake sweeps Ascension Christian

Peter Silas Pasqua
Northlake Christian’s Brittany Searce sends a shot over the net as Ascension?Christian’s Krystal Braud goes up for a block attempt in the Lady Wolverines’ sweep Monday night.

COVINGTON -  Defending state champion Northlake Christian took their first step to defending their title by sweeping Ascension Christian 25-6, 25-4, 25-9 in a Division V bi-district playoff Monday night at NCS’ gym.

“When we first found out who we had to play, I was kind of disappointed but I wanted my girls to see what a state championship team looks like,” Ascension Christian head coach Lisa Pellegrin said. “I knew we would be seeded against a good team so I wasn’t shocked but we used it as a learning experience. Traveling there, I wanted them to experience that since this is our first year.”

Third-seeded Northlake Christian (27-12) advanced to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Volleyball Tournament at the Ponchartrain Center in Kenner to face sixth-seeded Delcambre (19-13) Thursday morning in the quarterfinals.

“They were tall and they all played club ball,” Pellegrin said. “They were strong hitters and very consistent in their serving. They were returnable but they set every hit and were awesome on the front row. They have a wonderful team and I am sure they will do well again this year. It gave us the idea of what is involved if we really want to take this to the next level.”

Ascension Christian finishes their initial season with a record of 7-18 after winning the Division 5-V crown with a 2-0 mark.

“We all had the same goal and vision,” Pellegrin said. “There is only way to go and that is up from where we started. Using an analogy of a ladder, every game is one step in progression and we wanted to show progress throughout the season and eventually be competitive no matter who we play. You win some and you lose some but you have to keep that focus in mind.”

Brittany Scearce led the Lady Wolverines with 13 kills and three aces.

“It sets the atmosphere,” Northlake Christian head coach Michelle Anderson said. “That’s how we approach it. It’s one of four that we have to win, so now we can cross one off.”

Krystal Braud had two blocks and two digs for the Lady Lions while Megan Pellegrin had three digs.

Northlake Christian jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first game before Hannah Miranda’s kill and Hannah Miller’s ace made it 13-4. The Lady Wolverines ended the game on a 12-2 spurt.

All Ascension Christian’s points in the second game came on Northlake serving errors.

Ascension Christian took their only lead of the match in the third game 1-0 before Northlake went on a 5-0 run. Braud’s kill and ace cut it to 7-4 until Scearce’s kill began a 10-0 run. The Lady Lions cut it to 18-6 before NCS pulled away.

“One of our main goals was to learn our positions and work on fundamentals and we have done that,” Pellegrin said. “We wanted to get as many set ups as we could on offense but against Northlake that was kind of difficult.”

Ascension Christian will return everyone next season including five juniors and six freshmen.

“We play a lot of freshmen so they will be around for a while,” Pellegrin said. “That is a great opportunity to learn from each other. There knowledge of the game and skills will only get better.

“The districts will change, so I expect our district to grow. That will be a great challenge. Each game that we play, the focus must be on progress. We look forward to participating in club ball and camps throughout the summer. We will be able to condition over the summer more intensely with the addition of our gym. Where we were limited, I am very proud of what we did this season. I see some good things in the years to come.”