There were no scouting reports needed when the Runnels School visited Southern Lab for a first-round volleyball playoff match Thursday evening.
Familiarity between the teams, rivals in Division V, District 4, was a given. The final result was a familiar one too, as 11th-seeded Southern Lab turned back No. 22 Runnels 3-1, its third win over the Raiders this season.
As it did 10 days ago when Runnels (10-23) visited the Kittens’ gym, Lab needed four sets to secure the win by scores of 25-21, 25-8, 21-25 and 25-22.
“I was so proud of them,” Lab coach Allisa Hale said of her team. “We talked so much during the season about having heart, working your butt off, and they showed it tonight.”
With the win, Lab advances to the second round and will face No. 6 First Baptist Christian (21-10) in Slidell on Monday.
Lab (33-6) played the match without injured starters Autumn Moore and Payten Clark, but sophomore Kaela Moore helped fill the void. Seeing her first front-row action in a varsity game, she finished with five kills and four blocks.
Other top performers for Lab were senior Kerra Augustine with eight kills, five aces and nine digs; freshman Kennedy Williams with six kills and three digs; freshman libero Destinie Taylor with 15 digs; and setter Saije Bady with 22 assists.
Runnels fought back in the third game. The Raiders led 15-11, but SLHS forced two ties before taking a 21-20 lead. The Raiders then closed out the game with five consecutive points on Christian Amedee’s serve. Two kills by Robbye March and another by Ashley Stansbury highlighted the run.
In game four, Runnels kept the momentum getting two kills from three different players as it led 15-8. Lab responded by scoring 14 of the next 16 points to surge to a 22-18 advantage. Runnels pulled even with four straight points, but Lab score the final three to put the match away.
“We started too slow to be able to come back on a team like that,” Runnels coach Jean Martinez said. “We were down 2-0 and had to hold them, but we fought hard. (The players) did what I asked them to do.”
March topped the Raiders attack with nine kills and three blocks while Kim Lam added five kills and eight digs. Stansbury and Micah Danos each tallied seven assists.
The opening game was tied twice in the early going before Lab moved out to a 17-10 lead. An ace from Amedee and two kills by March got Runnels within 21-19. Lam hit into the net on the next point, but followed with two kills as Lab’s lead dwindled to 22-21.
Runnels dropped the next point when a high set hit a ceiling rafter. Lab took the final two points of the game on Augustine’s kill and Mya Vick’s block.