In 2020, few things have been predictable or reliable. The Parkview Baptist volleyball team offers a rare exception.
The Eagles started just a bit slow — at least by their standards — but finished with a 12th straight victory, beating south Baton Rouge rival Episcopal 3-0 in a Division IV, District 3 contest played Tuesday at Episcopal.
“They are jelling well. They feed off of each other, and the thing that I like the most about this team is that they know how to turn that switch when they need to,” PBS coach Becky Madden said. “If they come out a little flat or if the other team comes out a little extra excited, they don’t panic. They do what they need to do.”
The Eagles (15-1, 4-0) won by scores of 25-15, 25-11 and 25-11, illustrating Madden’s point in the process.
An inspired Episcopal squad played the Eagles point for point through much of the first set. It was tied at 13-13.
But then PBS kicked things into gear, going on a 12-2 run to close out the set at 25-15 in impressive fashion. An ace by Taylor Daugherty and a kill by Taylor Sharer helped finish off the opening set.
Lindsey Lessard led the Eagles with 10 kills, while Sharer (nine kills) and Madison Cassidy (seven kills) also helped set the tone. Izzy Besselman (six kills, six digs, one ace), Lauren Patterson (four kills, three assists) led Episcopal (7-5, 2-1).
“We came in knowing what we needed to do,” Episcopal coach Madeline Blanchard-Gugich said. “We knew we had to play block well and play good defense. For the most part, I feel like we did that. They (the Eagles) are just really good. We lost, but this match is going to help make us better for the playoffs.”
Set 2 mirrored the first set for a short time. This time, the Eagles got on a 12-1 roll to take control. Cassidy, Lessard and Maddie McReynolds, who had six aces, took turns putting points on the scoreboard.
Parkview left little to chance in the final set. They jumped out to a 5-1 lead and pushed it to 12-5 on a kill by Jaila Simmons. When the advantage reached 19-10, Madden began bringing more subs off the bench.
“It was a very slow start, but I think toward the end of it we started picking it up,” Cassidy said. “I think our serve-receive was the difference.”
Sharer added, “I think because we have been playing together for so long, we just naturally pick each other up.”