When two of the best volleyball teams in the metro New Orleans area meet, a battle is expected, especially when it’s a district matchup.
On Tuesday in a Division II, District 4 match pitting St. Scholastica against Lakeshore, however, the Doves seized momentum early and held it throughout.
SSA defeated Lakeshore 25-15, 25-22, 25-17 on Tuesday evening at the Lakeshore High gym near Mandeville. It was a big win considering that the two teams are considered most likely to compete for district honors.
Now, the Doves have a one-game advantage on the Titans, and it’s an enviable position. SSA is ranked fifth in the New Orleans Advocate’s Sweet 16 Large School Rankings, and Lakeshore is ranked sixth. The teams will play again later this month in the second round of district
SSA only trailed once in Tuesday’s match, and that was when Lakeshore took a 1-0 lead to open the second set.
“It’s really exciting (to get this win),” senior hitter Mikayla Richard said. “We came out ready to play (Tuesday). When you get a (solid) start, it helps keep you going.”
The start Richard referred to was a 10-1 lead that St. Scholastica (12-5, 3-0) fashioned to start the match. Allison Weimer earned five straight points on serve, and after a break, Molly Brown followed with several more winning serves to put the Doves in solid control of the first set.
Though Lakeshore clawed back to close the gap to 15-8, SSA kept applying offensive pressure and took the first set on a kill by Richard.
The second set was much more competitive with Lakeshore tying the set at 15 on a tip by Caroline Golden. The teams traded points toward the end of the set, until SSA went ahead 24-22 on a tip by Weimer and a net miscue by the Titans. Maddie Morris pounded a cross-court kill to end the set and give the Doves a 2-0 advantage.
SSA came out strongly again in the third and make quick work of Lakeshore. The Doves jumped to leads of 5-0 and 20-12 before ending the match on kill by Weimer.
Brown, the Doves junior setter, said it’s nice to have so many weapons to engage at the net.
“It’s just awesome to have them, just watching them get up there and kill it,” Brown said. “I love to watch it.”
SSA first-year coach Andrew Beyer said Tuesday’s win was important to his team’s goals.
“Everybody expects us and Lakeshore to compete for district, so it was nice to take care of the first match and get it out of the way,” he said. “To win in three sets at (Lakeshore,) that’s big for the team. They’re really excited, and they were really prepared for this game. They were focused and ready. I’m very proud of them.”
Meanwhile, Lakeshore (12-6, 1-1,) looks to regroup as district play progresses.
“The big picture is playoffs now and where we go from there,” said Lakeshore coach Jennifer Hebert. “We have to get back in the gym and focus on not making so many hitting errors. We make a big play, and then hit the ball out. … We have to fix that.”
Richard and Maddie Morris led SSA with 10 kills each. Brown had 24 assists and Kellie Garraway and Morris combined for 47 digs.
Golden led Lakeshore with 13 kills. Victoria Caruso had 17 digs, and Rebekah Koshak added 15 assists.