Lady?Spartans bring talent to “new” team in ‘09

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension returns four starters from a year ago including Kristen Watts, Caitlin Roddy, Jyra Churchill and Jade St. Pierre when they finished 10-11 and 2-8 in district.

East Ascension fell on the short end of a lot of close games last season but return a host of talent that must be shaped into winners by first-year head coach Jamie Gilmore.

“Last season and this season are two totally different seasons,” Gilmore said. “We have to build our mental strength and get used to and understand what winning is and once they do that, they will be alright.”

 “They have known what it is like to lose and don’t like the feeling. We are constantly being positive but they have to stay focused.”

Gilmore, a product of Assumption and Nicholls State who previously coached at East St. John, takes over for Lacey Barbera who led the Lady?Spartans to a fifth place finish in District 4-I with a 2-8 record finishing 10-11 overall.

The Lady Spartans only lose one all-district performer in Olivia Maher while returning a host of players with starting experience including seniors Jyra Churchill, Caitlin Roddy and Kristen Watts, junior Jade St. Pierre and sophomore Kandis Carter.. Others expected to contribute include sophomores Sarah Venable and Chelsea Letulle and freshmen Alecia Gutierrez and Celeste Finley.

“I really don’t know who was here last year and who wasn’t,” Gilmore said. “We are young and still working out a couple of kinks but we have people that can put the ball down and we have got a defense so I am excited. Once we get everything together, we will be good to go.”

“A lot of these kids didn’t play last year so it is a new team. They have to figure out what works and what doesn’t and how they are going to gel. This team is new but they have all the talent in the world.”

The Lady Spartans non-district schedule includes Lutcher, Redemptorist, Tara, Parkview Baptist, Ascension?Christian and tournaments at Denham Springs, Dutchtown, Loyola and East St. John.

The district remains the same with Destrehan, St. Amant, Dutchtown, Hahnville and East St. John.

“We are playing some good teams,” Gilmore said. “Our schedule is not easy. It is going to take hard work. They are going to have to work hard to beat these teams. Our district is very tough and they know what is coming at them. We have to stay together and play as a team and we can’t lose focus.

“We want to make the playoffs and at least come out third in district. That is our goal and they can do it. They just have to work together and play hard. We have the talent. We just have to figure it out. Once they settle down, they will be alright. A lot is different from last season.”

East Ascension fell 21-25, 28-26, 11-25, 18-25 to Lutcher Tuesday night. Churchill had 11 kills and three blocks, while Carter and Gutierrez each had eight kills and Roddy had 12 digs.