Parish volleyball teams preparing for 2019 season
Football isn't the only sport about to get cranked up in Ascension Parish. Volleyball is also on the horizon.
The parish has always had its share of success in the sport. Just last season, two Ascension teams reached the state tournament.
The 2019 season looks like it could be another memorable one for the area as many of the best players return.
Last year's most successful parish team was Dutchtown. The Lady Griffins won 36 matches and shared the district title with St. Amant. It was the first time in school history they won at least a share of the league title two years in a row.
In the playoffs, they reached the state tournament for the first time since 2010, en route to reaching the state semifinals.
Dutchtown brings back a very talented roster in 2019.
They do lose some all-district stars in Lauren Launey, Madison Lee, Kristyn St. Pierre and Annie Pavleszek. However, they bring back senior Zoe Wooten, who was last year's District 4 MVP as she piled up 442 kills, 131 digs, 121 blocks and 57 aces.
Along with Wooten, Dutchtown returns a first-team all-district performer in India Bennett, along with starters Alexis Logarbo and Taylor Heeb.
Also, a healthy Jaela Drumgole returns after missing almost all of last season with a torn ACL. Prior to that injury, Drumgole was a first-team all-district player as a sophomore.
"We are definitely strongest on the front row with our hitting. We have multiple players that can play different positions," Dutchtown head coach Patrick Ricks said.
St. Amant shared the league title with the Lady Griffins last season. They also reached the state quarterfinals.
From that team, the Lady Gators lost Kristen Savoy, who was last year's District 4 Defensive MVP. Along with her, they lost an all-district performer in Megan Beniot.
But virtually everyone else returns for St. Amant.
Junior Gracie Duplechein is back after coming up with 482 assists and 301 kills in 2018. She will be joined by returning all-district standouts Elaina Anderson, Aubrey Dwane, Olivia Rome and Zoe Richard.
East Ascension is hoping they can contend with St. Amant and Dutchtown for the district crown. The Lady Spartans are coming off of a year in which they won 25 matches during the regular season.
Unfortunately for East Ascension, they'll be without Diamond Jones, who has been the District 4 Offensive MVP for the past two seasons.
Although, first-team all-district starter Truli Joseph returns, following a 2018 campaign that saw her collect 437 kills and 210 digs. She will be joined by another first-team all-league performer in Londyn Brown.
In 2018, Ascension Catholic won their league championship and went on to reach the second round of the playoffs. This season could be much more of a challenge as the Lady Bulldogs lose four key seniors in Isabelle Abadie, Lauren Landry, Catherine Villa and Emme Medine.
But fortunately for Ascension Catholic, they will return Catherine Rome, who was last season's District 3 MVP. Rome had 261 assists, 260 kills and 203 digs.
Also on the west bank, Donaldsonville will try to duplicate the success they had in 2018, as they made a run to the playoffs.
They'll return the best player from that team. Quinntryce Bell was the only Lady Tiger to make the all-district squad last season. She was a first-team selection.
Ascension Christian will be another parish team that will have to reload after losing some of their best performers.
Last season, the Lady Lions reached the postseason with all-district standouts Kylie Jones, Macee Chenevert and Savannah Marcello leading the charge. But all three players have since graduated.
Ascension Christian's top returning starter will be Elise Millet. Millet was a first-team all-district selection last season.