Lady Gators overcome East Ascension’s fast start

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Whitney Delmore goes up for a dink attempt on St. Amant’s Victoria Ojea in second game of the Lady Gators’ 3-1 victory Wednesday night.

St. Amant overcame a quick start by East Ascension on way to a 22-25, 25-12, 25-12, 25-15 Division 4-I victory Wednesday night at EAHS gym.

“We definitely did not show up here, especially the first game, ready to play,” St. Amant head coach Allison Didier Leake said. “EA did a good job of everything in the first game. I thought they really played well. Our girls thought they would just step on the court and things would happen. In volleyball you can’t do that. You have to make them happen. We did a much better job in the next games but in the first game we just did not come ready to play.”

St. Amant (14-15, 6-2)  remains in a second place tie in district with Dutchtown after falling to leader Destrehan in five games Monday. East Ascension (9-10, 1-7) find itself in fifth place behind Hahnville and ahead of East St. John. 

“We just have to keep playing ball and hopefully play our last few matches like we played the first game tonight,” East Ascension head coach Lacey Barbera said. “We played hard and had a lot of momentum on our side. We were passing and serving well but we just couldn’t hold onto that momentum in the second game. St. Amant is a great team but we had more errors on the front row and we were not hitting as hard as we could have. That was the difference.”

Victoria Ojea led St. Amant with 12 kills, two blocks and three aces, while Laney Gautreau provided 28 assists and seven digs, Megan Poore had 10 kills, 12 digs and three aces and Kayla

Young contributed six kills, 12 digs and three aces.

“In order for us to compete for district, we have to win out the rest of our district games,” Leake said. “Right now, we are fighting for second place and possibly first. Everything is a waiting game because this year all of the teams in our district are pretty competitive.”

Whitney Delmore led East Ascension with nine kills and two blocks, while Tanisha Thomas provided six kills and two digs, Olivia Maher added 18 assists, Jyra Churchill had five kills, three aces and 18 assists and Jade St. Pierre contributed three kills, two blocks, two aces and two digs.

Ojea blocked Delmore early in the first game before Churchill’s dink knotted it up 2-2. Poore’s kill and ace knotted it up 6-6 after Thomas’ dink before Delmore and Young traded kills. Elena Villar blocked St. Pierre to give St. Amant a 10-8 lead after Ojea’s dink and Peyton Vincent’s ace.

Ojea’s kill gave St. Amant the lead again after Delmore’s before Churchill’s knotted it up 12-12.

Young’s ace put the Lady Gators ahead once more but Kristen Watts’ ace evened the score. Thomas and Kandis Carter traded kills around Poore’s before Young’s gave St. Amant an 18-16 lead. St. Pierre’s consecutive aces gave East Ascension the lead 22-21 after Delmore’s dink. Churchill’s kill set up game point on Watts’ ace after Ojea’s dink.

Gautreau’s kill and Vincent’s ace put St. Amant ahead in the second game before Delmore’s dink and Maher’s ace. Ojea’s ace gave St. Amant a 8-5 lead after Poore’s kill. Villar blocked Carter to start a 6-0 run that culminated with Vincent’s ace to put St. Amant ahead, 15-7.

“Most volleyball games start off going back and forth until you reach the teens,” Leake said. “If a team is going to pull away that is when it is going to happen. Our hitters came around, our passers got the ball up and we found holes on the court.”

Carter’s kill cut it to 15-9 before Young’s kill and Ojea’s dink made it 18-10. St. Amant closed on a 5-0 run and Churchill’s attack error after Butler’s dink and Gautreau’s kill set up game point on Ojea’s ace.

Churchill’s kill opened the third game before St. Amant went ahead 2-1 on Ojea’s kill and never looked back. Chelsie Daigle’s ace made it 4-1 before consecutive aces from Churchill cut it to 7-6. Gauteau’s ace made it 10-6 before Thomas and Delmore’s kills cut it to 14-9. Poore’s kill after consecutive set up game point on Butler’s during a 10-2 Lady Gator run to end the game.

East Ascension went ahead 5-2 in the third game courtesy of Churchill and St. Pierre’s kill and Delmore’s dink before St. Amant went on a 5-0 run on Gautreau’s ace, Ojea’s kill, Poore’s dink and Butler’s kill. Churchill’s ace put East Ascension back ahead 10-9 after Thomas’ kill before Poore’s dink put the Lady Gators ahead for good 13-12.

St. Amant closed out the game on a 13-3 run fueled by kills from Young and Ojea with Churchill’s return error setting up match points on Delmore’s attack error.

East Ascension fell to Hahnville 25-13, 21-25, 14-25, 15-25 Monday before being swept by Destrehan 24-26, 20-25, 19-25 Tuesday.

St. Amant fell to Destrehan 25-23, 22-25, 25-11, 16-25, 8-15 Monday. Vincent led the Lady Gators with 30 digs, while Ojea had 18 kills and Gautreau added 29 assists. Robin Sill led the Lady Wildcats with 13 kills, while Alexis Keller provided 19 assists and Teena Marchese had 30 digs.

East Ascension’s Jade St. Pierre bumps a pass in the third game as Kristen Watts backs her up.