Patriots turn back Comets

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 23, 2009



LAPLACE — While St. Charles refused to go away quietly, John Curtis continued to prove it’s standing as the class of District 7-IV on Thursday.

Behind 20 Ashley Henderson kills, the Patriots nailed down a 25-10, 25-20, 25-19 win over the Comets and moved within one win of clinching a second straight district championship. Curtis will face St. James on Tuesday in hopes of securing the 7-IV title.

The loss, coupled with Riverside’s win over St. James on Thursday, means that Tuesday’s game between the Comets and Rebels at St. Charles will be for second place in the district. A Comets win would clinch, while a Rebels win would pull the teams into a tie, and necessitate a tiebreaker for the district’s second guaranteed playoff berth.

SCC (10-14, 3-2) fell behind early in all three games, but made runs in games two and three to put the outcome in doubt late.

But on each occasion, the Patriots (15-12, 5-0) settled down and reeled off a late run to win.

“I know our girls are fighters. I’ve known that since the day I met them,” said St. Charles coach Kelly Cupit. “We couldn’t pull it out. Hopefully a loss like this serves as motivation.”

Henderson said her team had plenty of motivation coming into the match.

“St. Charles is always a big rivalry for us,” she said. “We all really wanted the win. And with the football game between the teams (Friday), I think everyone was especially hyped.”

Jessica Jason led the Curtis defense with 19 digs. Amani Upshaw and Lindsey Scallen had four aces each. Scallen added 28 assists.

Courtney Western led St. Charles with 20 assists and 10 digs. Meg Gustafson added seven kills and six blocks.

Curtis led 8-7 in the opening game when back-to-back kills by (13) and Henderson lauched Curtis into a 11-0 run and a 19-7 lead. SCC would rally briefly, but Curtis would score five straight points to end the match and take a 25-10 win.

Curtis got out to a 19-12 lead in the second game and seemed easily on its way to a 2-0 lead in the match. SCC fired back, scoring five straight points. Jaymie Remondet accounted for the last three of those on a kill, a tip and a block on Henderson’s spike attempt.

“We’ve played against a lot of tough hitters, and she is definitely their go-to player,” said Cupit of Henderson. “We felt like we were prepared for her.”

Curtis went ahead 20-17 on a Comet serving error, but SCC rattled off two straight points to cut the lead to one.

But Henderson answered with a kill. Two long spike attempts by SCC sailed too far. And the Patriots outlasted the Comets on two of the last three points to secure the win.

The third game saw JCC jump out to an even better start – at one point, a 10-0 run gave Curtis a 13-3 lead.

JCC led 16-5 when the Comets scored four straight to cut into the lead. But a quick 4-0 run by Curtis made it an 11-point game again.

SCC responded, scoring seven of the next eight points to improbably make things interesting once again. With the score 20-17 though, Curtis made one last push, and it was enough. Four straight points backed SCC to the brink of elimination. A Curtis return error extended things, as did a Meg Gustafson kill. But Henderson slammed down the final point on the next sequence, and Curtis remained undefeated in district play.

“A win is a win, and we’re all very happy with that,” said Henderson. “Now it’s on to St. James, and hopefully we can wrap up a district championship.”

Cupit said she felt her team came into the match with the proper focus, but at times let things slip away mentally during Curtis runs.

“I think we got down on ourselves too early, and didn’t pick each other back up,” said Cupit. “We’ve played some tough teams this year. We know what’s at stake.”

SCC DROPS SJH IN THREE – The Comets won three straight games at St. James on Tuesday to keep their hold on second place in district play, 25-7, 25-7, 25-7.

Courtney Western had 19 assists and six aces. Gustafson had 10 kills and five blocks. Remondet had five digs.