Woodlawn High gained a measure of revenge by defeating Baton Rouge High 3-1 in Division I, District 2 volleyball at BRHS on Monday.
BRHS claimed the first set 25-15 before Woodlawn took the next three sets 25-21, 25-20 and 25-12.
This was the third meeting between the teams this season, and the Lady Bulldogs swept the first two, defeating Woodlawn in the finals of the Tara tournament and again in district play on the Lady Panthers’ home court.
One of big reasons for Woodlawn’s dominance in the match was the play of outside hitter Leah William, who had what coach Nelson Malpica said was one of her better games. After an average first set, she caught fire and went on to record 20 kills (for a total of 22 in the match) over the next three sets to go with a service ace and three digs.
“As a team we played well, Williams said. “Our setters were doing really well tonight. I was seeing the blockers and just trying to hit around them.
“Coach told us we needed to win to get into the playoffs, and we wanted to do that. We started off slow, but then we got rolling.”
Baton Rouge High started strong in the first set, stringing points together in bunches and finishing the set on an 11-1 run that included three service aces by setter Sameera Mohamed.
Sisters Maria (4 kills) and Megan (3 kills) Morgan helped power the Bulldogs to a 25-15 win.
The second set went back and forth until Woodlawn took a 9-8 lead, and from that point on the Panthers trailed only once, at 1-0 in the third set, for the rest of the match.
Malpica attributed part of the slow start to the absence of two starters in the first set.
“We played without a libero because my starting libero was in a car accident on Friday and came today to tell me she had a concussion. Another player (Jodi Eho) did not play the first set because she missed our last practice. She played well after she sat out the first set. When she is on, she is intimidating.
“When it was (14-14) in the first set, the girls looked afraid. They were not happy. I told them play the way you are capable and things will take care of themselves.”
After Woodlawn finally took the lead, the Bulldogs played catch-up the rest of the way and could never quite pull even. With Williams and Edo combining for 29 kills in the last three sets, the Panthers were dominant in every phase, winning the last three sets 25-21, 25-20 and 25-12.
“Our only mistakes today were in our serving,” Malpica said after his team had 10 service faults in the match.
BRHS coach Sheila Achee was disappointed with her team’s performance.
“I don’t know the reason,” Achee said, “but we passed poorly and had a complete lack of focus. I thought Sam (Mohamed) worked hard and Megan had some nice digs, but we didn’t play well at all. It was just one of those days.”
Williams had the opposite take on her teammates’ performance.
“We just put more heart in it,” she said. “It’s a good feeling to keep playing your hardest and keep winning.”
Edo finished with 13 kills and 2 blocks for the Panthers. Meghan Luker had 20 assists.
BRHS’ statistical leaders were Maria Morgan with 12 kills, 8 dogs and 3 blocks, Megan Morgan with nine kills and 12 digs, and Mohamed with 15 assists and seven digs.