Baton Rouge High narrowly avoided a third-set meltdown and hung on for a 27-25 win to complete a 3-0 victory over Belaire in volleyball action at the BRHS gym Tuesday.
The Bulldogs breezed to a 25-11 first-set win and pulled away late to take the second set 25-21. They appeared to be coasting to an easy decision in the third set, leading 23-14 before Belaire went on a 10-1 run to tie the set at 24. The teams traded points before kills by Sameera Mohamed and Loren James put Baton Rouge High over the top.
“Sometimes we just seem to lose our focus,” Baton Rouge High coach Dayna Kohn said. “If we could play more focused and determined, we could be a much, much better team. The potential is there. We need some better chemistry. But I’m happy with the win.”
Kohn had made rotation changes in her lineup, moving Mohamed, the team’s only senior, to the back row and using freshman Neely Bourgoyne and junior Chelsea Young as setters. Bourgoyne responded with 26 assists and nine aces. Young had 10 assists. Mohamed had her usual strong all-around game with eight kills, eight digs and four aces.
Loren James led the Bulldogs in kills with 11, followed by Tayler Strickland with 10.
The big story for Belaire (7-9) was the play of senior Denetria Wren. She was in the middle of most of their successful points, making plays at the net, in the middle and on the back row. She finished with 18 kills, eight assists and six aces.
“(Wren) is amazing,” Belaire coach Ella Reado said. “She’s a great three-sport athlete. When she’s on the floor, I can breathe a little. We put a lot on her back.
“Baton Rouge High has a good solid team, but my girls fought and they work hard. As long as they play hard, I can handle that.”
Weddin Roberts added 23 assists for the Bengals.
Bourgoyne collected seven aces in the first set including five as the Bulldogs scored the last 14 points of the set.
With the score tied at 11, Baton Rouge High (11-5) scored seven points on her aces and four more on kills by James. A Mohamed kill closed out the set.
The second set was a different story. The score was tied nine times, the last time at 20, and the issue was in doubt until BRHS finished with a 5-1 run, thanks to kills by Mohamed and Zahria Sims, who had eight kills in the match.