GEISMAR - East Ascension High volleyball coach Jamie Gilmore couldn’t recall the last time the Spartans defeated Ascension Parish rival Dutchtown, but she knew Tuesday’s contest was a big one.
Big enough that East Ascension controlled the net as it opened Division I, District 3 play with a 3-1 victory at Dutchtown 25-16, 10-25, 25-16, 25-18.
“This is the first time our kids have beaten them in I don’t know how long so this was a big hump they got over today,” said Gilmore after watching the Spartans improve to 1-0 in district and 17-6 overall.
Outside hitter Alecia Gutierrez paced the Spartans with nine kills, three blocks and two digs. Kandis Carter had seven kills and five blocks, and Gabrielle Gutierrez added 10 digs. Setter Celeste Finley finished with 20 assists.
Dutchtown (14-8, 0-1) was hoping to free up senior hitter Jodi Hill, but found limited success against EAHS’ front line of Carter, Gutierrez and Jaquel Watts. Hill finished with 10 kills but was also blocked a handful of times.
“We really couldn’t do a whole lot with (Hill) because our ball control was so bad,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Ricks said. “She was having to hit off the net from positions she’s not used to hitting in.”
Melissa Bailey had 28 assists and Hayden Wood eight digs for the Griffins.
The teams split the first two games, but East Ascension started quickly in the third. Carter’s block on Hill keyed a 6-1 surge to start the game.
The Spartans’ lead grew to 15-7 after Brooke Wells was called for being in the net. Minutes later, Gutierrez’s kill put EA on top 20-11, and the teams split the next 10 points as the Spartans won 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth game was tied eight times before East Ascension finally took control for good. Jordan Logarbo’s kill pulled the Griffins even a final time at 17-17, but Carmisha Peyton’s kill put EA back on top.
From there, Watts set up shop at the net, and recorded three blocks and then the final kill as East Ascension closed out the match 25-18.
“My kids have been playing really well,” Gilmore said. “They’ve been playing together as a team, and they’ve been really focused. This is exactly what I thought they would come out and do.”
East Ascension’s play only added to the frustrations for Dutchtown, which has struggled to find consistency this season.
“That’s just the way we’ve been this year,” Ricks said. “We’ll play well in stretches, and then play poorly, but East Ascension was dominant tonight at the net. When you can’t get the ball over the net because they’re blocking so well you can’t win.”
The first game was tied 5-5 when East Ascension took the lead for good. The Spartans largest lead was at 16-10, but Dutchtown battled back to within 19-15 on Tiyena Brown’s kill.
Carter and Celeste Fenley had kills, and Tori Vincik blocked Hill as East Ascension won six of the final seven points for a 25-16 win in game one.