It was the day of the defender when homestanding Parkview Baptist took on St. Louis Catholic of Lake Charles in the regional round of the Division III volleyball playoffs on Monday.
The Eagles came away with a 3-1 victory, hanging on for a 30-28 first-set win and stumbling through a 25-11 loss in the second before taking the last two sets 25-19 and 25-14.
With the win, PBS advances to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Volleyball Tournament that begins Thursday at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center. The fourth-seeded Eagles (30-9) meet No. 5 Rayne in quarterfinal action at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
“That’s the kind of match we needed,” PBS coach Becky Madden said. “I loved the intensity. Hats off to St. Louis. They really came to play.”
Led by liberos Macey Stock of Parkview with 24 digs and Abbie Lafosse of St. Louis with 36, both teams prevented any consistent offensive attacks through most of the match. The Saints’ DaSha Pitre (eight blocks) and the Eagles’ Cameron Forbes (five blocks) were the leaders who helped control the defense on the front row.
“We’ve kind of prided ourselves on (our defense),” St. Louis coach Luke Pousson said. “Keep the ball in play and let the other team make the mistakes, and you saw a lot of that today. That’s what our division is about — win it with defense.”
The first set was the most competitive. St. Louis (15-13) grabbed an early 5-1 lead behind kills by Morgan Rosteet, Pitre and Shannon Dalton before Stock sparked a 7-0 Parkview run with three aces.
The set went back and forth before the Saints took the lead at 17-16 and had a game point at 24-22. Parkview capitalized on some hitting errors to go ahead 29-28, and took the set on a double hit following a diving dig by Mazie Dieterich that kept the point alive.
St. Louis had a visible surge of intensity to open the second set, racing to an 8-1 lead and never looking back, closing out the set on two straight aces by Dalton.
“Their team was on fire and our team was playing safe, playing not to lose,” Madden said. “I’m not sure what the play was, but somewhere we got some confidence early in the third set.”
The spark to the turnaround was a 12-0 run, highlighted by an ace by freshman Hannah Fontenot and aggressive net play by Forbes and Skyler Goodwin.
“We have a great team and they have a great team and we knew it would be a tough game,” Stock said. “We were really focused ready to play.”
Pousson credited his team, and especially his seniors. “If you’re going out, make the team that beats you play as hard as they can. Hopefully we did that,” he said.