Five parish volleyball teams set for the playoffs

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown earned the No. 13 seeding after finishing second in the district. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

It was another strong regular season for parish volleyball, and as a result, five of the six teams made the playoffs.

In Division I, all three powers made the field. Most notably, the St. Amant Lady Gators earned the highest seeding in Ascension at No. 3.

Led by Maggie Duplechein, Taylor Tidwell and Brianne Babin, St. Amant has had quite the eventful season. With the Great Flood of 2016 having such a disastrous effect on their community, they were forced to relocate both on and off of the court.

The school was flooded, which led to their students having to share the classroom with Dutchtown. Also, the Gold Dome took in significant water. Once again, Dutchtown became their temporary home.

The stress and uncertainty seemed to affect St. Amant early in the season as they stumbled out to a 6-7 start.

However, once they caught fire, they finished the season playing as well as anyone in the state. They won 26 of their final 28 matches.

In finishing 33-9 overall, the Lady Gators won another district championship. It was the fifth straight season where they finished the league schedule undefeated.

As the third seed, they were awarded a first-round bye. They’ll play the winner of the first-round matchup between No. 14 Baton Rouge High and No. 19 Ruston.

Last season, the Lady Gators made it to the Volleyball State Tournament, before losing to Barbe in the quarterfinals.

The parish team with the second-highest seed was Dutchtown.

The Kristen Thompson and Caroline Beeman-led Lady Griffins finished the regular season with a solid 23-15 record. They also finished as runner-up in the district. Their only two losses came to champion St. Amant.

With their strong play, they were able to earn the No. 13 seeding. It granted them a home matchup in the first round against league foe Denham Springs.

In two clashes with the Lady Yellow Jackets this season, Dutchtown won in straight sets each time.

The winner of the match will play fourth-seeded Mandeville.

Finally, East Ascension was able to make the playoff field as a No. 22 seed, despite losing many of their best players from last season.

With all-district performer Caitlin Henderson returning, the Lady Spartans finished the year with a 17-23 record.

They drew a first-round matchup on the road with No. 11 Barbe. If they can pull off the upset, they will play No. 6 Fontainebleau on the road.

In Division V, both Ascension programs made the playoff field.

Ascension Christian earned the highest seeding at No. 14. The Lady Lions had a terrific season that culminated in a 14-9 record and a district championship.

Led by returning all-district players like Emily Millet and Lani Sanchez, Ascension Christian went a perfect 6-0 in district play and finished the season with a run of six wins in their final seven matches.

They drew a first-round home clash with No. 19 White Castle—a team that finished the regular season 10-11.

The winner will face defending champion Louise McGehee.

Also making the playoffs was Ascension Catholic.

Losing many of their top players from last season and also facing a very challenging schedule, the Lady Bulldogs made the playoff field despite winning just nine matches.

It was Ascension Catholic’s strong district performance that gave them the nod. They went a solid 5-3 in league play.

They will try to follow up a special 2015 season when they made it to the state semifinals. Players like Grace Villa and Carson Dunn return from that impressive squad.

For the first round, they drew a road matchup against 16th-seeded Academy of Sacred Heart - G.C.—who went just 13-20 during the regular season.

The winner will face top-seeded Ascension Episcopal in the second round.