Riverside falls in tough match against Episcopal

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 15, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 15, 1999

KENNER – Reserve Christian coach Mike Marix set one of the goals for the season to have his team win its first ever playoff game in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

Mission accomplished.

The Lady Eagles used six aces to win the first game and held off a late Hosanna Christian rally in the second to defeat the Blazer Bulldogs, 15-7, 15-12, in the Division IV bi-district playoffs Thursday morning at the Pontchartrain Center.

Reserve Christian fell to White Castle, 15-9, 15-1, in the quarterfinals Friday morning to finish 12-13. Hosanna ended its season at 2-20. WhiteCastle (28-9) advanced to the semifinals Friday night to play Delcambre.

Reserve Christian, which fell to in the first round of the tournament last season, jumped out to a 7-2 lead against Hosanna Thursday. A volley byAngie Tucker and an ace by Summer Vicknair into the left corner made it 5-2. Tucker followed a serve later with two aces, increasing the lead tofive.

The Lady Eagles kept the pressure up with their serving, getting aces by Amber Schlesinger and Renee Delaneuville to increase the lead to 9-3.

Vicknair followed with a flip and Schlesinger added a block, making it 11- 3. A cross-court kill by Mary Venus made it a 10-point margin beforeHosanna broke the string with a kill by Tiffany Caffarel. After a dink byVenus brought the Lady Eagles to game point, Hosanna held on, getting an ace by Bonnie Soileau and two by Kimberly Messer to close to within 14-7.

But after a timeout and a service break, Delaneuville delivered a kill for the game winner.

Reserve Christian kept it up at the start of the second game. An ace byDelaneuville started a run of 10 unanswered points for the Lady Eagles.

Delaneuville served two more aces and Schlesinger came up with a kill and a dink off the top of the net to make it 7-0 before the Blazer Bulldogs got their first serve. Schlesinger broke that serve with a kill and Vicknairfollowed with three consecutive aces, giving the Lady Eagles a 10-0 cushion.

Reserve Christian needed that cushion as Hosanna refused to give in.

Messer started the comeback with consecutive aces. Another ace by MyraThomas, a dink by Rachel Youngblood and two Reserve Christian errors brought the Blazer Bulldogs to within 11-7. Shelly Ford broke the streakwith an ace but Hosanna came vack to tie the score at 12 behind aces by Sharlene Smith and Youngblood. But Hosanna could not pull ahead,recording service errors on its final three possessions.

In the meantime, Reserve Christian was regaining the lead on a kill by Venus. Two serves later, the Lady Eagles closed out the match withconsecutive aces by Schlesinger.

Messer led the Blazer Bulldogs with 21 assists and four aces. Smith had adig while Caffarel had a team-high three kills.

Schlesinger led both teams with four kills and three blocks. Ford hadseven digs while Tucker led the squad in assists. The Lady Eagles had 15assists, eight by Delaneuville.

“We did a focal drill yesterday,” Marix said of the team’s success with its serving. “If it wasn’t hitting me, they were running.”Marix said another factor was that his team set the tempo, something it learned from last year.

“We were shell-shocked,” Marix said of the team’s first appearance last season. “We were blown out by the atmosphere. But we learned as a coachand as players.

“One of our goals was to win the first playoff game in the LHSAA in school history. I wanted them to be history makers and they had a chance toaccomplish that.”In Friday’s match, the Lady Eagles hung with White Castle in the first game, tying the score at 3 on an ace by Vicknair.

After the Lady Bulldogs went back ahead. The Lady Eagles grabbed a 6-4lead on an ace by Tucker. White Castle would go ahead for good on ace byGernasha Williams and extend it to 10-6 on a block and a tip by Dionne Lewis and a block by Dianna Gilbert.

Reserve Christian pulled to within 12-9 on a lob and a block by Delaneuville but White Castle closed out the game behind an ace by Raven Baker and a kill by Ebony Williams.

White Castle’s athleticism took over in the second game as the Lady Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead on three aces by Williams and a kill by Sonya Davis. Reserve Christian got its firs point as Arneisha Brisco tipped a shotout but White Castle came right back with aces by Baker and Gala Jones to take a 12-1 lead. A kill helped the Lady Bulldogs pull to within matchpoint. Reserve Christian made it 14-3 on a dink by Schlesinger but Davisbroke the serve with a block and Williams delivered an ace for the win.

Lewis led White Castle with six kills and five blocks. Brisco had threedigs while Jones had three aces and Gernasha Williams had seven assists.

Vicknair paced the Lady Eagles with two aces and four digs. Schlesingeradded two kills.

“I thought we had it coming out of the first game,” Marix said. “We wereable to hang with them. I told the team to hit it deep and force free balls.They did but we just made too many mental errors. But I am proud. WhiteCastle is a very athletic team and is capable of going all the way. Goingdown to a team like that and the way we played, I was happy.”The Lady Eagles return five starters next year and look to build on their first playoff win.

“Next year, I look for exciting things,” Marix said. “We have a lot to buildon.”

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