Lady Spartans’ rally falls short to ACHS in Dutchtown Tourney

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Whitney Delmore drops a dink over Ascension Catholic’s Katherine Capone and Alisa Richard in the first game of the Lady Bulldogs victory Saturday morning in the Dutchtown Tournament.

GEISMAR - East Ascension rallied to take the second game after falling in the firs,t but came up short in the third decisive game dropping a 16-25, 25-17, 13-15 match to Ascension Catholic Saturday morning at the Dutchtown Tournament.

“We really needed that,” East Ascension head coach Lacey Barbera said. “We needed to play a team like that so that our girls can see that they have a lot of potential. If they can compete against a team like Ascension Catholic then I think we will have a good season.”

Ascension Catholic, defending Dutchtown Tournament champion, advanced to the Division V semifinals last season, a year removed from the state championship game but long-time head coach Chandra Ewen has been replaced by Al Olive.

“When I took over the position, I told the girls, I wasn’t changing anything,” Olive said. “I just told them, we need to get a little faster and believe in ourselves.”

Ascension Catholic stormed out to an 11-0 lead in the first game. Katherine Capone kick started things with a kill before Ashlyn Grisaffe’s ace and Alisa Richard sandwiched kills around Chelsea Zeringue’s.

“We got them to believe in themselves,” Olive said. “That is the key thing. We are trying to get the girls’ confidence up. When they make a mistake, they get down on themselves and really take themselves out of the game. We want them to blow it off and be ready to play ball.”

Capone’s kill made it 8-0 before Jyra Churchill’s dink got the Lady Spartans on the board.

“I don’t think it was anything we were doing wrong,” Barbera said. “Our passing was there. We just got off to a very slow start. The gym was extremely hot. It was just rough getting started.”

Lady Bulldog attack errors made it 11-3 before Capone’s kill and Richard’s ace. Three consecutive East Ascension return errors increased Ascension Catholic’s lead to 17-4 on Richard’s ace before Whitney Delmore’s dink.

Churchill’s kill cut it to 18-6. Tanisha Thomas’ kill made it 20-8 after Zeringue’s dink before Capone’s kill. Kandis Carter’s block and Delmore’s dink preceded Grisaffe’s kill before Delmore’s made it 21-15. Two consecutive kills by Capone ended the game after Thomas’ service error and Delmore’s attack error.

“It was our serves that killed,” Barbera said. “We gave them eight points just on the serve. That is something we spend a lot of time on in practice. I think they get nervous because that has been our focus all summer.”

Service errors opened the second game before Ascension Catholic went up on Grisaffe’s dink and took a 4-1 lead on Capone’s kill. Kristin Watts ace cut it to 4-3 before Churchill’s two aces put the Lady Spartans’ ahead 7-5. 

Jade St. Pierre’s dink made it 10-7 before Ascension Catholic went on a 4-0 run courtesy of Zeringue, Capone and Ali Bouchereau kills. East Ascension regained the lead again for good on an attack error. Churchill and Richard traded kills to make it 15-14. Delmore and Grisaffe swapped kills before Capone’s attack error led to four straight aces from Olivia Maher to set up game point on Delmore’s dink.

Churchill’s kill opened the final game before Ascension Catholic went ahead 4-2 on two dinks and a block by Capone and Grisaffe’s ace. Delmore blocked Capone to knot it up at 4 and Watts’ ace made it 6-6.

Caitlyn Roddy’s ace cut Ascension Catholic’s lead to 11-10 and Jade St. Pierre’s dink gave the Lady Spartans the lead before another Roddy ace made it 13-11 but the Lady Bulldogs ended the contest on a 4-0 run as Capone’s kill set up Bouchereau’s ace for match point.

East Ascension travels to Tara Wednesday.