St. Amant takes down EA for big district win
First-year St. Amant head coach Chandra Ewen didn’t quite know what to expect when her Lady Gators faced archrival East Ascension on Tuesday night.
Being an assistant coach at Dutchtown, Ewen experienced the Lady Griffins’ rivalries with both the Lady Spartans and the Lady Gators. But St. Amant vs. East Ascension is just different.
In a loud and packed gym at East Ascension, the Lady Gators and the Lady Spartans met for the first time this season.
East Ascension put forth quite a challenge. When it looked like St. Amant was on its way to a 2-0 lead, the Lady Spartans fought back to tie the match at 1-1.
East Ascension fought hard to extend the contest to five sets, but in the end, the Lady Gators pulled out a hard-fought 3-1 victory.
“EA is such an emotional game for them,” Ewen said. “I’m trying to learn this rivalry because it’s always been just another game for me. But it was so much more emotional for them, so I had to try to keep them maintained and focused and not let them get too overemotional.”
East Ascension got off to a great start, surging to an 8-5 lead in the first set, but St. Amant had a prompt response. The Lady Gators went on a 15-4 run to go ahead, 20-12.
Ja’Lynn Davenport came up with a kill that put St. Amant at set point, and they eventually took the frame, 25-16.
It appeared the blowout was on as the Lady Gators ran out to an 11-4 lead in the second set following another kill by Davenport.
But East Ascension responded with a huge rally of its own. The Lady Spartans scored 10 of the next 14 points to get within one.
Later, East Ascension took a 20-17 lead with an ace by Melinna Carrero.
A kill by Lexie Bourque put the Lady Spartans at set point, and a St. Amant serving error gave East Ascension a 25-20 win that tied the match.
The Lady Spartans then went up 4-1 to begin the third set, but the Lady Gators countered with a devastating 13-0 run that gave them a 14-4 lead.
From there, St. Amant rolled to a 25-15 victory.
The Lady Gators kept the momentum going in the fourth set as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead.
An ace by Bret Mayers and block by Amaya Evans put them up 19-13. And St. Amant eventually took the set and the match with a 25-21 victory.
“I’m glad that we responded well,” Ewen said. “We really shouldn’t have dropped the set that we dropped, but we just made way too many errors. But I’m pleased with the perseverance. It would have been easy to let it go down from there.”
In the victory, Evans had 12 kills, five blocks and three digs, while Davenport had 10 kills and two blocks.
Morgan Boss led the team in digs with 17. Mayers had 11 assists.
East Ascension dropped to 11-13 with the loss. The Lady Spartans have made big strides this season. In 2020, the Lady Spartans only won one match.
The victory was the third in four matches for the Lady Gators. It also improved them to 4-1 in district play.
“We still very much control our own fate. If we can win out, we can tie for first in district,” Ewen said. “Dutchtown is a pretty formidable opponent, but on any day, anyone can win. We have three weeks left and a lot of matches ahead, so I’m just trying to keep them focused.”