Lutcher 6-foot senior Jariel Tureaud is known for her power at the net. An LSU volleyball commitment, Tureaud also displayed her prowess while serving in a decisive fifth set Tuesday.
Lutcher scored seven points in the fifth set with Tureaud serving and contributing two back row kills as the Bulldogs defeated host St. Michael the Archangel 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 22-25 and 15-7.
Lutcher (17-6) improves to 3-0 in Division III, District 6 action. St. Michael (13-7, 1-1) and Parkview Baptist are among the other teams to watch in district.
Tureaud finished with 20 kills, four aces, five blocks and seven digs. St. Michael’s Molly Smith (seven kills, two blocks) and Amber Igiede staged a fierce battle against Lutcher’s front line that includes 5-8 junior Janaya Tayler and 5-7 senior Jacie Whitney.
“I knew it would be a battle,” Lutcher coach Ricky Leblanc said. “Jeriel is a really good player and our big motor. We have other players we look for, too. We played pretty good. There are still some things we can do better.”
St. Michael coach Robert Smith said the addition of Lutcher to the district will help all teams improve and get ready for the playoffs.
“We didn’t play as well as we needed to against a good opponent to get the win,” Smith said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take your lumps and learn from it. We were right in every set.”
In the second set, St. Michael sophomore setter Sadie Edmonston ran a beautifully disguised setter dump play for the winning point. Edmonston had 14 assists, 12 digs, three aces and two kills.
Lutcher led 21-13 in the third set. With Smith at the net, St. Michael pulled within 22-21. Lutcher scored the final three points.
There were four lead changes in the fourth set. St. Michael took control behind the energetic play of 5-9 junior Savannah Wininger, who had 13 kills, 14 digs and a block. Amari Bellard (seven kills, 17 digs, one block) also came up big for the Warriors.
The fifth set was tied at 4-4. Lutcher took control with Tureaud serving. Sophomore setter Maci Schexnayder twice had assists to Tureaud for back row kills. Schexnayder finished with 18 assists.
Senior outside hitter Avarie Louque added eight kills and 17 digs for Lutcher. Taylor added eight kills and four digs.
Leblanc said libero Maegan Michel is a difference maker.
“Maegan is a really good athlete, and she gets to balls for digs that others can’t,” he said. “She’s a spark plug for us.”