By RYAN ARENA
LUTCHER — Lutcher middle blocker Jairel Tureaud said that she and her teammates came into this week’s slate of games motivated, after a lackluster 1-3 performance at last weekend’s Ascension Episcopal tournament.
Their determination to bounce back was easy to see on Wednesday, as Lutcher controlled throughout in a three game victory at home over visiting St. Charles, 25-16, 25-14, 25-14.
“We really concentrated on putting on our best effort today. We had a bad tournament and everyone wanted to kind of erase that,” said Tureaud. “It was really important for us to get it back.”
St. Charles coach Kristen Sullivan said she’s seeing the effort and determination from her players both on the game and practice floor, but said that the Comets must shake off a tendency to start slow in games.
“There are definitely times where we are slow to start, and then we tend to wake up and make a push,” said Sullivan. “But sometimes we dig too large a hole for ourselves.
“I don’t think these scores reflect the effort our girls are giving or the work they’re putting in. They’re improving every day.”
Tureaud led Lutcher in kills with 13, to go along with two blocks, five aces and six digs. Tamyrn Louque had 27 assists, seven digs and three kills. Chelsie Kinler had eight kills and Avarie Louque had 10 digs.
For St. Charles, Hope Madere had four kills. Megan Ruiz had 21 digs and Brooke Tregre had 14 assists.
The day came down to a series of spurts for Lutcher, starting with a game-ending surge to break open game one.
SCC and LHS went back and forth in the opener — the Bulldogs took an 8-4 lead early after an ace by Avarie Louque and a tip by Brandi Louviere, but a kill by St. Charles’ Courtney Snyder sparked a quick 3-0 Comets run to bring them within a point.
A kill by Courtney St. Pierre and then back-to-back kills by Tureaud pushed Lutcher (11-6) to a 14-11 lead, but Nicole Doming’s spike sparked the Comets on a run of three of the next four points, making it a 15-14 Bulldogs lead.
But from there, Lutcher took over, going on a 9-0 run that essentially put the Comets away. An ace by SCC’s Brittany Tregre staved off elimination at 24-16 but a Jaci Gravois kill secured the LHS victory.
“Usually it takes a little time to establish a rhythm for any team,” said Lutcher coach Ricky LeBlanc. “I wish we would have made our run a little bit earlier, but everything came together at the end.”
Like the first game, LHS got out to an early lead in game two, at 6-2, before a quick SCC rally. SCC tied the game at seven on a Snyder kill and LHS return error.
But after a Comets’ error and an ace by Tureaud made it 9-7, Lutcher never lost its lead. With the score 13-10, Courtney Michel’s kill sparked a 5-0 run that made it 18-10. Chelsie Kinler finished things with a spike for the 25th point.
The Bulldogs took off in the third game, jumping out to an early nine-point lead. A Kinler kill made it 12-3 and a Louque ace pushed things to 15-6.
The Comets began to stir, scoring five straight points, including an ace by Snyder and a tip by Kaitlyn Lowry. To make it 15-11. SCC pulled within three at 16-13, but LHS pulled away from there, starting with back-to-back scoring hits from Michel and St. Pierre that made it 18-13; those were the first two points of a match-ending 9-1 run for Lutcher.
“Our passing was a lot better today,” said Tureaud. “That was a big thing for us.”
Said Sullivan, “We were able to limit our errors today, and we played solid defensively for the most part … There were a few positives. We’re just having trouble finishing at the net right now.”
It was the second match of the week for SCC and the second of three straight days of play on the road; the first was a loss at Country Day, 25-10, 25-14 and 25-10.