VOLLEYBALL

Parish stars crowd All-District 4 volleyball team

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown sophomore Jaela Drumgole was a first-team all-district selection. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

It was another tremendous season for Ascension Parish volleyball—especially among the area’s three Division-I programs.

Look no further than the All-District 4 team. Of the 14 players that made the first and second teams, 13 of them came from either St. Amant, East Ascension or Dutchtown.

The only non-Ascension player that made the first or second team was Shelby Prest of Denham Springs. She was a first-team selection.

Of the three parish schools in the district, St. Amant was the most prominent. This should come as no surprise considering the spectacular season the Lady Gators just completed.

St. Amant did things the unconventional way in 2017.

Usually, they steamroll through the regular season, winning over 30 matches, going undefeated in district play and entering the postseason as one of the top-five seeds in the state.

Things didn’t come so easy for them this year. They had to rally together as a team.

Already without last year’s district Defensive MVP Brianne Babin and all-district standout Maggie Duplechein, the Lady Gators knew they would be without some key starters in 2017.

But to make things more complimented, last year’s district MVP Taylor Tidwell decided to leave the team right before the season. Tidwell is an LSU signee in softball.

Down so many experienced leaders, the Lady Gators struggled through some growing pains during the early part of the schedule.

At one point, they were just 9-11 and 1-2 in district play.

However, they righted the ship in the latter half of the season and ended on a five-match league winning streak, which won them a share of the district title.

They got into the playoffs as the No. 14 seed.

In the opening round, they swept Destrehan, setting up a second-round matchup with third-seeded archrival East Ascension.

For the second straight matchup, the Lady Gators came out the victors and punched their ticket to the state tournament for the eighth straight season.

They eventually reached the state semifinals, before losing to St. Joseph’s Academy.

One of their leading catalysts in their great late-season surge was senior Baylee Rambin. Rambin was named the district’s Defensive MVP.

Along with Rambin, freshman Gracie Duplechein made the first team.

Three Lady Gators made the second team: seniors Megan Arceneaux and Taylor Baxter and junior Megan Benoit.

East Ascension had one of the best regular seasons they’ve ever had in 2017.

The Lady Spartans went 31-11. One of these victories came against St. Amant—something they hadn’t done in at least a decade.

As a result, East Ascension was able to claim a share of the district championship.

Their terrific resume earned them the No. 3 seed and first-round bye for the playoffs, but they were upset by St. Amant just one victory away from the state tournament.

Four East Ascension players made first or second-team all-district.

Diamond Jones was named the district’s MVP.

Truli Joseph joined her on the first team. Both Meagan Ross and Brylee Brown made the second team.

Dutchtown is a team that also landed four on the all-district squad.

The Lady Griffins had a very productive season.

Like East Ascension, they were finally able to get the St. Amant monkey off of their backs. They beat the Lady Gators for the first time in at least a decade.

Dutchtown went 23-15 during the regular season and won a share of the district title.

This earned them the No. 6 seed and a first-round bye for the playoffs, but they were upset by Archbishop Chapelle in the second round.

The Lady Griffins had the most first-team selections of any parish squad.

Sophomores Jaela Drumgole and Zoe Wooten and junior Lauren Launey all made the first team.

Senior Kathleen Vasterling landed on the second team.