East beats West in annual volleyball all-star game _lowres

Kristen Nuss of Mt. Carmel

The volleyball playoffs in Louisiana may have come to an end last week, but it sure didn’t seem like it at the annual Louisiana High School Coaches Association East-West All-Star match.

Both teams were highly competitive and forced the game to go five sets, but the East came away with the 25-20, 25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 15-9 victory on Saturday at Newman High School.

“It’s great to see all-stars play and to just see the kids play together and have a good time,” said East coach Jodee Pulizzano of Ben Franklin. “It was a great two days with great kids that all play for really good programs.”

The East squad was made up of Toni Corso (Belle Chasse), Sarah Drake (John Curtis), Ellie Silva (Sacred Heart), Kristen Nuss (Mt. Carmel), Allison Olsonoski (Ben Franklin), Marissa Lagasse (Mt. Carmel), Taylor Ducros (McGehee), Avery Hardy (Sacred Heart), Briana McKay (Ursuline), Kayla Jones (Chapelle), Julia Felix (McGehee), Bailey Hepting (Cabrini) and Rakell Spencer (Cabrini).

On the other side, the West’s roster featured Kaitlyn Gertz (Sulphur), Ali Mitchell (Episcopal), Anne Faulk (Notre Dame), Morgan Vincent (St. Thomas More), Chaney Siebarth (Barbe), Mary Franques (Ascension Episcopal), Grace Morgan (Notre Dame), Kourtney Gremillion (St. Amant), Bethany Bergeron (Westlake), Tayra Kanou (Rayne), Jariel Tureaud (Lutcher), Sarah Pierre (Episcopal Acadiana), Madelyn Aucoin (St. Thomas More) and Destiny Ephrome (University High).

After being awarded MVP following her team’s second consecutive Division I state title last week, Nuss earned MVP of Saturday’s All-Star match after recording 14 digs. Olsonoski led the East with 12 kills.

Grace Morgan was the leader for the West squad with 14 kills.

“It was just an honor to make it here because these are all the best girls in the state,” said Nuss, an LSU beach volleyball commitment. “All my teammates on the East were great, and the girls from the West were too. It’s just a great way to end the season.”

After falling behind 2-0 in the match, the West started to turn things around and fought its way back into the match.

The West took a hard-fought third set, 25-21, and jumped up to a 14-5 lead in the fourth set before holding off a late comeback attempt by the East to force a fifth set.

The East found its groove once again in the fifth set, finishing things off with a 15-9 victory.

University High coach Bonita Johnson, who coached the West squad, said regardless of the outcome, it’s good to see the best players come together and play as competitive a match as they did.

“It was fun to coach such skilled players. It shows that Louisiana has a lot of talent,” Johnson said. “It was just an overall enjoyable weekend.”