Lady Spartans overcome errors to sweep Bethany Christian

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Tanisha Thomas’ digs a shot against Bethany Christian as Caitlyn Roddy backs her up Tuesday night in the Lady Spartans’ sweep.

BAKER - East Ascension overcame an inability to put Bethany Christian away for a sweep 25-21, 28-26, 25-18 Tuesday night.

“We have a tendency to play to our opponents’ level and they just haven’t found a way to overcome that, step it up a notch and get the job done,” East Ascension head coach Lacey Barbera said. “They did make an effort but they were not focused as they should have been.

“We weren’t covering very well today. We were kind of slow transitioning. We are missing a couple of our starters so we had new rotations. We had girls playing in new positions that we are not comfortable in yet. It was very sloppy. We had a major different lineup and they have to get used to playing in this lineup.”

Jyra Churchill led East Ascension (4-2) with seven aces and four kills. Jade St. Pierre added five aces and three kills.

Bethany (0-1) was led by Kelsi Moore with five kills and two digs and Rachael Douglas with six aces, three kills and three digs.

“This was our first game of the season,” Bethany head coach Jesse Moland said. Some tournaments got canceled so after the jamboree we have been off for a while.”

East Ascension never trailed in the first game going up 4-1 on Olivia Maher and St. Pierre’s aces. Kristen Watts’ ace made it 6-2 before Churchill provided seven aces on a 9-0 Lady Spartan run. Three consecutive aces from Jasmine Jackson cut it to 18-11.

St. Pierre’s dink made it 20-13 before the Lady Lions went on a 5-0 run courtesy of Moore’s two kills and Kayla Cucullu’s ace. Bethany cut it as close as 21-20 on an East Ascension return error before Watt’s ace and St. Pierre’s dink set up game point on Moore’s service error.

“We can come back but it is best if we don’t have to come back,” Moland said. “If they have that same intensity when they start a game then the comeback would be what actually puts us ahead.”

Bethany went ahead 6-1 in the second game courtesy of two aces by Racheal Douglas and Jessica Street’s pair of dinks. Maher’s consecutive aces followed by Caitlyn Roddy’s kills knotted it up 6-6, the first of 12 ties in the game. Douglas’ kill gave Bethany a 10-9 lead before Tanisha Thomas’ kill put East Ascension ahead 11-10.

Bethany went up 15-14 on Moore’s kill before the Lady Spartans went on a 9-0 run fueled by three aces from St. Pierre and kills from Roddy and Churchill. Churchill’s kill set up game point 24-17 but Bethany used an 8-0 run to give the Lady Lions game point courtesy return errors and Moore’s two aces. Thomas’ kill set game point, 27-26, on Roddy’s ace.

“They were scrappy,” Barbera said. “They were digging and they saw our weaknesses and kept playing on them. We are not a very fast team right now. We don’t cover tight enough and they picked up on that. They found the holes very well and unfortunately the games were closer than we wanted them to be.”

Bethany took an early lead in the third game courtesy Moore and Street’s kills before Churchill’s kills put East Ascension ahead for good. Watts’ ace made it 6-3 before Thomas’ kill and Churchill’s ace gave the Lady Spartans a 10-5 lead. Moore’s dink cut it to 16-12 before East Ascension went on a 6-0 run fueled by two aces from Maher. Douglas’ three aces cut it to 22-16 before St. Pierre’s ace set up match point on Churchill’s kill.

East Ascension played one final tune up against Ascension Christian Thursday before entering District 6-5A Monday at Dutchtown.

“We have to step it up a couple of notches,” Barbera said. “They know this level of play won’t get us where we need to be.”