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ESJ clinches second straight district title

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 2, 1998

RESERVE – The East St. John Lady Cats clinched their second consecutiveDistrict 8-I title Thursday afternoon with a 15-7, 15-8 victory over Destrehan.

East St. John improved to 16-11 overall and 3-0 in district. Destrehan fellto 7-17 overall and 1-3 in district.

East St. John plays at Hahnville Tuesday afternoon. A Hahnville victorywould put the Lady Tigers second in the district and advance them to the state playoffs. A victory by East St. John would set up a one-game playoffbetween Hahnville and Destrehan with the winner advancing to the state tournament.

The victory was East St. John’s seventh straight in district play over thelast two seasons. The Lady Cats went undefeated in district action lastyear and advanced to the bi-district playoffs.

“It seemed like such a long, hard road but they did it,” East St. John coachToni Robinet said.

“All season long, they worked for this game. They found a way, knew whatit meant and were able to pull together. They realized that it was our ownerrors that had beaten us all season long. They came into this game anddidn’t want that to happen again today.”East St. John jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a dunk of a free ball byTammy Gunter. Destrehan came back on three East St. John errors to goahead 3-2. But three serves later, two Destrehan errors and a spike byJennifer Wright put East St. John ahead to stay, 5-3.Maria Lainez extended that lead to 7-3 with an ace inside the left baseline. A cross-court kill by Kayatanna Brown made it 10-4 beforeDestrehan closed to within four on a dink by Angela Garrett and an East St.

John error.

But East St. John pulled away again on an ace by Theresa Cambre and a dinkby Wright. An ace by Wright and a lift by Destrehan brought the Lady Catsto game point. Gunter got the winner with a kill down the middle of thecourt.

It was Destrehan that got off to a fast start in the second game. A blockby Allison Bourgeois and two East St. John errors made it 3-0 before theLady Cats called a timeout. A kill by Bourgeois and an ace by Garrett madeit 5-0.

East St. John began its rally with two dinks by Lainez. Two errors byDestrehan brought East St. John to within one before Destrehan used atimeout. Coming out of the timeout, East St. John went ahead for good onan ace by Wright and two Destrehan errors.

East St. John began to pull away on a kill to the back line by Brown and aspike that Brandi Serven that hit the top of the net and fell in to Destrehan’s side of the court. A dunk by Gunter off a free ball and a serveby Danielle Washington that Destrehan could not return made it 12-5.

Destrehan rallied to within 12-8 on three East St. John errors with AngeleChauvin serving. But three Destrehan errors gave East St. John the match.Wright led East St. John with two aces. Brown contributed six kills whileLainez was the top defender. For Destrehan, Leslie Hall and Garrett eachhad an ace. Hall was also the top defender while Susan Baudier had ateam-high three kills.

Seniors Wright, Gunter, Brown and Lainez were honored before the game, their last at home. Wright has been playing for the Lady Cats since shewas a freshman. Gunter and Lainez have been team members since theirsophomore years while Brown transferred from Houston before this season. Robinet said they felt a sense of responsibility coming into theseason, having played tournament ball and gone to camps during the summer to get better.

“They were here through the building years of the program,” Robinet said.

“The last two years, they have been able to reap the benefits from the hard work they put out. They never gave up and did what seniors have todo.”

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