BRUSLY — Zachary weathered a sluggish start and one final momentum swing before edging Brusly in nondistrict volleyball action Wednesday evening.
Zachary rallied from a five-point deficit in the decisive fifth game to post a 3-2 win, and spoil a spirited Brusly effort by scores of 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25 and 15-13.
The match showcased two teams who have already qualified for the state playoffs.
Brusly (21-17) had clinched the Division III, District 5 title with a 3-0 win over West Feliciana on Tuesday. The Panthers, who haven’t lost a game while compiling a 9-0 district record, close their regular season Thursday when they host district foe Plaquemine.
Zachary (21-12) is also playoff bound after wrapping up second place in Division I, District 3 earlier this week. Against Brusly, the Broncos stuttered before finding their groove in the second game.
“We started off very slow, which is not our norm,” Zachary coach Madeline Gugich said. “I’m very proud of the girls for digging themselves out of a hole. I don’t take anything away from Brusly, but we started slow.”
The slow start included a 25-18 win for Brusly in the first game. It looked like more of the same when Brusly led 23-18 in the second game, but Zachary rallied to win the final seven points and tie the match.
“It was like our balloon deflated, and we couldn’t get the momentum back,” Brusly coach Kayla Sarradet said.
The Zachary momentum carried into the third game when it pulled out to a 14-6 lead.
The Broncos never let Brusly get closer than four points the rest of the game, and won 25-18.
Zachary held an 11-7 lead in the fourth game, but Brusly finally caught a second wind. Brusly rallied, and the teams were tied nine times until Brusly broke a 21-all tie with three straight points.
The Broncos took a 25-22 win to force the fifth game.
“I told the girls, once you get in there and find your momentum you’ve got to put your foot on the gas, and keep it there,” Gugich said. “You can’t let up.”
Leanne Sorrel led Brusly with 19 kills along with 20 digs. Ana Williams had 12 kills and three blocks while libero Dreona Clayton had a match-high 35 digs.
Brusly’s Caitlyn Williams finished with 27 kills and 23 digs. Abby Hemba was also a factor with 17 kills. Setter Mallory Thibodeaux had 37 assists and 12 digs.
The tight match was one both teams hope to use as preparation for the playoffs.
“I think we’re picking it up at the end of the season,” said Serradat, who lauded her team‘s defensive effort as one of its best of the season. “We’re playing really well, especially (Wednesday). If we carry that into the playoff, we’ll do really well.”
Gugich offered a positive outlook, as well.
“We learned a lot,” she said. “We got better today as a team going into the playoffs, so at the end of the day I’m OK.”