Ascension Christian defeats Indepedence in home opener

Peter Silas Pasqua
Ascension Christian head coach Lisa Pellegrin address her team before the start of the third game of the Lady Lions 3-1 victory over Independence Monday afternoon.

Ascension Christian opened its new gym Monday night by defeating Independence 25-12, 25-12, 22-25, 25-19.

The Lady Lions, in their first year of competition,  have played all away games expect for a scheduled home game at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center’s YMCA, Ascension Christian head coach Lisa Pellegrin said.

“The hurricane backed up the completion of the gym,” Pellegrin said. “We have been practicing outside until we got the gym ready,  which was just this last week.”

Pellegrin said although the program is in its first year at the high school level, Ascension Christian’s feeder school, Faith Academy, has taken part  in volleyball for the past eight years.

“I have been coaching some of these girls for several years but some are very new,” Pellegrin said. “We have some that have never even a volleyball practically, so that was a challenge. I have some veterans but the key was to integrate the one’s that have never played with the ones that have experience. That was a big challenge and we are still learning from that.”

After taking a 15-6 lead in the third game, Ascension Christian allowed Independence to come back.

“I think the girls’ were excited and that is why they let down their guard,” Pellegrin said. “The third game, I kind of changed around a few people and I think it broke the sequence that they were used to. They had some good servers and once they got going, they kept at it. We just have to watch our concentration.”

Megan Pellegrin led the Ascension Christian with 10 aces, four kills, two blocks, two assists and two digs, while Krystal Braud added six aces and three kills, Sophie Schexnayder provided seven aces, two kills and two assists and Chrissy Swanson had two aces and two kills.

Ashley Junior led Independence with two kills, while Megan Briggs and Shyeisha Anderson each had one ace for the Lady Tigers, whose program is its third year.

“It takes a while to build a program because girls come and go,” Independence head coach Lisa Corona said.

Kandice Braud’s ace put Ascension Christian ahead 2-1 early in the second game before the Lady Lions used a 6-0 runs courtesy of Pellegrin and Schexnayder’s kills and consecutive aces from Krystal Braud. Schexnayder’s ace made it 11-3 before another 5-0 run fueled by Pellegrin’s dink, Brett Blazier’s kill and Rhegan Jones’ ace.

Junior blocked Pellegrin to cut it to 16-7 before Krystal Braud’s kill made it 22-11 after  series of errors. Krystal Braud’s ace set up game point on Berlashiya Ruffin’s return error.

Ascension Christian jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third game courtesy of three aces by Pellegrin. Junior’s dink cut it to 9-5 after Krystal Braud’s ace and a series of errors. Jones’ consecutive aces made it 15-6 after Schexnayder’s  before Junior’s ace and Briggs’ kill cut it to 15-10. Independence used a 4-0 run courtesy of Adreana Sampson’s ace and a series of errors to cut it to 16-14.

Briggs’ consecutive aces cut it to 18-17 after Pellegrin’s kill but Pellegrin’s attack error put Independence ahead for good as the Lady Tigers went on a 4-0 run. Britney Braud’s return error set up game point on Pellegrin’s return error.

Independence went ahead 3-1 early in the fourth game courtesy of errors before three consecutive aces by Krystal Braud put Ascension Christian on top. Schexnayder’s three consecutive aces made it 9-5 before Anderson’s consecutive aces cut it to 9-8. Jones’ ace put the Lady Lions up for good followed by Chrissy Swanson’s kill.

Pellegrin’s consecutive aces made it 19-13 before Anderson’s attack error set up match point on Sampson’s return error.

Ascension Christian (5-10, 1-0) opened Division 5-V play Tuesday night, defeating Family Christian 25-17, 25-12, 25-10.

Pellegrin led the Lady Lions with two aces, six kills and eight assists, while Krystal Braud had four aces, seven kills, two blocks and two assist, Schexnayder provided two kills and two assists.

Sara Alvarez led Family Christian with two aces and two kills, while Grace Larson added three kills and two digs.

Ascension Christian’s Kristin Ellis bumps a pass in the third game as Megan Pellegrin and Kandice Braud back her up.