Lady Gators ousted from state tournament

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Baylee Rambin (No. 14) and the Lady Gators try to make a block at the net during their playoff loss to Fontainebleau. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

St. Amant arrived in Kenner looking to capture an elusive volleyball state title, but for the second straight season, their journey ended in the quarterfinals.

Facing Fontainebleau for the second time this year, the third-seeded Lady Gators took the first set, but the Lady Bulldogs responded by winning the next three and coming just two victories away from a state title.

It was quite the rollercoaster ride for St. Amant this season.

Before they could even dive into their schedule, the Great Flood of 2016 made its way to Ascension Parish. St. Amant was one of the hardest hit areas.

The school was flooded, as well as the Gold Dome and many other athletic facilities. This caused the Lady Gators to lose much of their gear with the season right around the corner.

Some thought St. Amant wouldn’t even have a 2016 season, but the Lady Gators were determined to get back on the court and experience a little bit of normalcy.

Dutchtown became St. Amant’s new home. They shared the facilities with the Griffin students each day, and in the evenings, the Lady Gators used the Dutchtown gym as their new home court.

With so much chaos and uncertainty looming over the program early in the season, St. Amant struggled early on, stumbling out to just a 6-7 record.

However, the Lady Gators caught fire and turned things around quickly. They finished the season winning 26 of their final 28 matches. This hot streak included an 18-match winning streak.

For a fifth straight season, they went undefeated in district play and took home the league championship.

The strong play earned them the No. 3 playoff seeding and granted them a first-round bye.

In their second-round matchup with Baton Rouge High, the Lady Gators cruised to a three-set victory and punched their ticket to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Volleyball State Tournament in Kenner.

They drew the tough quarterfinal matchup with No. 6 Fontainebleau. The Lady Bulldogs had handed them a tough five-set loss in the first match of the season.

Once again, the Lady Bulldogs proved to be a thorn in their sides.

St. Amant took the first set, 25-15, but Fontainebleau surged back to win two straight razor-thin sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-22.

Up 2-1, they appeared to be on their way to closing things out as they ran out to a 22-11 lead in the fourth frame. However, the Lady Gators had one last run in them.

St. Amant won 13 of the next 15 points to tie the set at 24-24.

Eventually, it was 27-27, but Fontainebleau was able to win two straight points to escape with the 3-1 victory.

In the loss, Maggie Duplechein led the match with 20 kills. Taylor Tidwell wasn’t far behind with 16, along with 20 assists. Madison Anderson led St. Amant in assists with 28.

The Lady Gators finished the season 33-10 overall.

St. Amant will lose many of their top seniors—including Duplechein, Tidwell and Brianne Babin, but they will return starters like Anderson and Baylee Rambin in 2017.