When the volleyball teams for Lafayette High and Ascension Episcopal School encountered a marathon, the Gators managed to make a final push to the finish line.
AES hung on for a 25-21, 26-28, 25-19, 24-26, 15-13 victory over the homestanding Lions on Tuesday.
“We made a lot more hitting errors than normal, but we kept playing strong defense and I’m proud that we never gave up,” said AES coach Jill Braun.
The Gators managed to build a 2-1 lead in games thanks to a strong effort from the service line that often put Lafayette High in some tough situations. “The off-speed serves threw us off a little bit,” Lafayette coach Cathy Poole said. “We struggled with our blocking early, and Moesha Alleyne stepped up and helped slow the ball down for us. We got our passes going offensively.”
The Gators broke a 23-23 deadlock in the fourth game when Sara Wortman tallied a kill to give AES a chance at a match point. However, Lafayette’s Madison Poen responded with one of her 30 kills to help the Lions avoid elimination. An attack error by the Gators and another Poen kill resulted in a Lafayette 26-24 edge and a fifth game.
“(The Lions) have a strong libero in Nicole Granger, and Poen is an excellent hitter,” Braun said. “It made it a tough victory.”
AES had an 11-7 cushion in the final game when the Lions strung together five straight points on the serve of Darby Bullard to grab a 12-11 lead. Wortman answered with a kill, and Veronica Droulia notched an ace to put the Gators on top for good. A Lafayette hit that ended up in the net on the final point gave the Gators the win and improved their record to 22-8.
Addie Vidrine had 13 kills for the Gators. Claire Trahan chipped in eight kills and Wortman finished with seven kills.
Lafayette High dropped to 10-16 with the loss in the non-district match. Granger had 41 digs. Poen had 19 digs to go with her 30 kills. Ashley Pate notched four service aces for the Lions.
“Ascension had several girls who swung aggressively, and we struggled,” Poole said. “Give Ascension credit. They played good defense and hustled well.
“We got outplayed and made too many mistakes.”