Spartans, Gators deny ESJ

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 20, 2008


Sports Editor

East St. John fought hard for its first district win of the season Monday at East Ascension, but the Spartans made the key plays late in a 25-15, 24-26, 29-27, 25-22 win over the Wildcats that sent ESJ to their fifth District 4-I defeat.

Mariah Wilder had 10 kills and two blocks for East St. John. Emily Heltz added 11 assists and five aces. Chantell Bush notched four kills, two aces and a block.

“It was point for point, back and forth the entire way,” said East St. John Coach Monica Hebert. “Both teams played well. But we just fell a bit short.”

Hebert said she couldn’t help but think that if not for a missed serve here, or an errant spike there, her Wildcats (4-11, 0-5) may have been able to leave with a victory.

“We had a lot of mental errors,” Hebert said. “I just think if we overcome those, it’s a different story. But East Ascension kept pushing us. They never backed down. And it’s why they were successful.”

On Wednesday, the Wildcats played their sixth road game in their last seven games when they visited St. Amant. The Gators held off a late rally by East St. John (4-12, 0-6) in the third game to win in three, 25-12, 25-12, 25-20.

Heltz had 13 assists. Bush added four blocks. Nairobi Dennis had 13 assists and two blocks.

“In the first two games, we just weren’t moving our feet,” said Hebert. “Their hitters hit hard and we weren’t picking it up.”

East St. John led by six in the third game, but couldn’t sustain a St. Amant push to reclaim the lead.

“St. Amant really stepped it up,” Hebert said.

The St. Amant game represented the first game in the Wildcats’ second round through district play.

Hebert has challenged her team to look at it as a new opportunity.

“At our last practice, I told them that while we’re off to a rocky start, it isn’t too late,” she said. “We’ve got two choices. Fall over now, and keep things the way they are, or step it up and turn things around.”

It could start today at East St. John’s annual Cat Scratch Tournament. Riverside, West St. John, and Reserve Christian are among local teams that will be participating. 10 teams in all will be there.

“Hopefully, we can get some wins and boost our confidence,” said Hebert.