YOUNGSVILLE — Ascension Episcopal coach Jill Braun said the biggest thing she took away from the Blue Gators’ straight-sets win over Lafayette Christian is that every player had a piece of the victory.
“The thing that’s great about this team is that every kid plays and every kid does something well,” Braun said. “It’s impressive to be as well-rounded as we are for as young as are.”
In the first set, AES jumped out an 11-2 lead, eventually winning 25-15. Braun said the team was feeling the Senior Night energy, and she said she knew they would begin hot.
“When you get an atmosphere like this where the fans are packing the stands and making a lot of noise, our kids feed off that energy,” Braun said.
LCA coach Jen Gardner gave her team a lot of credit for making the first set a challenge. Gardner called a timeout down 16-6 and said she told the team to just relax.
“Volleyball is one of those tricky sports where absolutely everything counts as a point,” Gardner said. “There’s that mental part of the game where once someone gets you in a hole, you’re just checking the scoreboard.
“I called a timeout and said, ‘Hey, no one cares about the scoreboard. Just go out there and play.’ After that we made a push and really started challenging them.”
LCA cut the first set lead to 18-15 before AES pulled away. The Knights hung with AES in the second and third sets, dropping them 25-20 and 25-17. Gardner said she took those scores as positives.
“To put up those points against a team like AES, I see progress,” Gardner said. “That’s a team that we have yet to beat, but that is also a team we were scoring four and five points against a year ago. To be able to earn our points and not just score off their mistakes, my takeaway is that we are up and coming, and we’re getting stronger by the minute.”
Braun gave a lot of credit to her setters for moving the ball with precision and commended her team’s defense. She said the most satisfying thing about the win was that everyone contributed.
“This is one of those matches where everyone had a piece,” Braun said. “Yes, Addie Vidrine had some big, hard hits, but there’s a lot of kids that have a lot of stats (Tuesday night). This was just a sound win against a tough opponent.”