Lady Gators sweep Sulphur to open Division I playoffs

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Stevi Tate sends a shot over against Sulphur’s Jennifer Stewart and Mandy Prejean in the second game of the Lady Gators’ 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 Division I bi-district playoff sweep Thursday evening at the Gold Dome.

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ST. AMANT?– St. Amant stormed out of the gates in Division I playoff action Thursday night sweeping Sulphur 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 in the bi-district round at the Gold Dome.

The 14th-seeded Lady Gators (21-18) advanced to travel to  No. 3 Fontainebleau Monday evening in regional action with a berth in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Tournament beginning Thursday at the Ponchartrain Center in Kenner on the line. Sulphur ended the season with a 14-18 overall record.

St. Amant was led by Kayla Young with 12 kills and nine digs, while Sami Marchand added 21 assists, 10 digs, three aces and two kills and Elena Villar provided six kills, three digs and two aces.

“This was one of our weaker games,” St. Amant head coach Allison Didier Leake said. “We did not play well. I did not think we would come in and sweep them but I expected us to play better than we did. We were not fundamentally sound. I think it hurt us that we haven’t played in a week and you could definitely tell.

“At the beginning, I can’t say that we weren’t concerned but I think our experience showed up at the end.”

Sulphur was led by Kelli Mancil with six kills and 13 assists, while Jennifer Stewart added five kills and two blocks and Mandy Prejean had three kills, four digs and six assists. 

“I would have liked to see us play a little better,” Sulphur head coach Julie Mancuso said. “In my opinion we didn’t play real good defense and got beat by a better team today.”

Lauren Delaune’s ace put St. Amant ahead 20-14 in the first game after Stevi Tate’s kill and the Lady Gators never looked back.

Sulphur went ahead 6-2 in the second game when Stewart blocked Emma Key but the Lady Gators responded with an 8-2 run to go ahead on Young’s violent cross court kill.

Ashley Sturdivant’s ace knotted it up 13-13 but St. Amant scored 12 of the final 15 points to win the game on Maddy Reardon’s dink after Young’s kill and Key’s ace. Young and Stewart traded kills to make it 18-16.

St. Amant never trailed in the third game jumping out to an 8-1 lead on consecutive aces from Villar after Peyton?Vincent’s ace opened the game.

The Lady Tors cut it to 9-6 on St. Amant’s net violation but the Lady Gators responded with a 6-0 run capped by Key’s ace.

Young’s kill made it 18-9 after Villar dug Stewart.  Holly Mancil’s kill cut it to 21-17 after but Young’s kill set up match point on a return error after kills from Villar and Key.