GONZALES - St. Amant High coach Allison Didier Leake hopes her team started another long winning streak with Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over East Ascension here Tuesday night.
The Lady Gators won their first 17 matches before losing 3-1 to visiting Destrehan last week. Two-time defending district champion St. Amant lost just six games the entire season and stands 19-1 overall and 2-1 in Division I-Class 5A, District 3. Destrehan is unbeaten in district, while St. Amant and East Ascension are tied for second.
St. Amant got solid net play from 5-foot-9 senior Maddy Reardon, 6-1 sophomore Toni Rodriguez and 5-11 junior Brooke deVeer to defeat East Ascension 25-23, 25-18 and 25-19.
Reardon contributed a team-high 16 kills and seven digs to go with two blocks. Rodriguez had nine kills, three blocks and two aces, while deVeer added seven kills and three blocks. Kelly Young made the offense go with 27 assists and five digs.
“The last couple of games, we haven’t been executing as well as we can, so I’m very pleased with how we played today,” Leake said. “Our passing was sharp and our hitters did their job. East Ascension is our big rival, and they came ready to play and really battled.”
East Ascension (20-7, 2-1) had five serving errors in the first game, and that fact disappointed coach Jamie Gilmore. The highly competitive first game was tied 14 times.
“The bottom line is we didn’t play like we normally play, and we didn’t play together,” Gilmore said. “We missed too many serves and had a lot of unforced errors.”
East Ascension led the first game 16-15 after a kill by Alecia Gutierrez. St. Amant surged ahead 19-16. Gutierrez had two aces to give the Lady Spartans a 20-19 lead. A kill by EAHS’s Kandis Carter tied the game for the last time at 23-23. EAHS was called for an illegal hit on game point.
EAHS led 8-6 in the second game after a block by Jaquel Watts. With Kayla Braud serving an ace and Reardon showing her might at the net, St. Amant went on a 6-0 run. EA trailed 15-12, and the Lady Gators went on a 10-6 run to closeout the game.
Tori Vincik’s kill pulled EAHS within 18-17 in the third game. St. Amant’s deVeer was a force down the stretch with three kills and a block.
Gutierrez led EAHS with 11 kills and four digs. Carter added six kills and three blocks. Celeste Fenley had 20 assists.
Half of the St. Amant players use the jump float serve off a three-step approach. “The good thing about the jump float is the ball is moving and coming across at an angle,” Leake said. “It’s a much more aggressive serve.”
East Ascension was a playoff team last season. St. Amant advanced to the Division I quarterfinals in 2010.
“We have five starters back and want a deeper run in the playoffs,” Leake said. “We are fighting back in district now and hope to beat Destrehan there to throw a wrench in it.”
A second long winning streak could help make that happen.