Ecole rallies to down Comets

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 2010



LAPLACE – St. Charles put forth a much-improved effort in its second crack at Ecole Classique on Thursday, in fact pushing the Spartans to the brink of defeat. But in the end, the Comets came up just short in five games, falling 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 8-15.

Chelsea Loupe put together a strong overall performance to lead the Comets. She tallied nine kills, 10 aces, two blocks, and 30 digs. Emily Picciola added 23 assists. Nicole Doming also had a pair of blocks.

St. Charles (3-9) came out rolling by winning the first two games. But in each of the last three games, SCC fell behind early and, despite some flurries, could not dig itself out of a hole.

“We felt like we had it in our grasp, but we lost our mental edge,” said St. Charles coach Kelly Cupit. “We fought back in the end each time, but it was a match we feel like we should have come out of with a win.”

In the first game, the Comets saw a solid lead slip away in the late stages as a pair of SCC mistakes allowed the Spartans to cut its deficit to 23-22. But after Ecole served into the net, Heather Orillion served the game’s clinching point when the Spartans could not return.

Ecole (11-6) got off to a quick start in the second game, scoring six of the first eight points. But a pair of aces by Cori Millet helped the Comets claw back to tie things up at 7-7. SCC took its first lead of the game after a pair of Doming scores made it 11-9. With SCC leading 16-15, the Comets made their push. An Orillion kill kick started an 8-0 run that included three straight Megan Ruiz aces and a scoring tip by Picciola. Orillion slammed the final point down on a kill to give SCC a 2-0 lead.

“We were very aggressive and did the little things right,” said Cupit. “If we keep doing those things, we’ll win games.”

But in the third game, the Comets couldn’t overcome an early Ecole surge. Ecole led 7-1 at one point and held its lead to six or more points for most of the frame.

An ace by Jordan Kinler made it 17-10. Another by Lily Hebert put Ecole ahead 21-15. With SCC on the brink of a loss at 24-17, Ruiz scored on a tip and two aces to keep the Comets alive, but Ecole clinched the final point to make it 2-1.

Sophia Cortez’s scoring tip garnered the first point for Ecole in the next game and the Spartans never looked back.

A pair of scoring hits by Kinler and another by Olivia Scott extended a 9-4 Ecole lead to 12-4. St. Charles would rally, scoring 11 of the next 14 points to tie things up at 15 on Picciola’s ace. But SCC couldn’t break through to lead. With Ecole leading 19-18, it scored the next five points to essentially clinch the game and knot the match at 2-2.

Ecole slammed the door early in the fifth and final game, running out to a 10-2 lead. Kinler clinched the game, finding a hole in the Comet defense on a tip.

Said Ecole coach Lorilei Songy: “We tried some different things early. We wanted to see if our younger players could jump start us. But as we went on into the last few games, I had to rely on my veterans.

“And I told them the only way we’d get back into this game would be to play with a better attitude and to play smarter. I thought we did that.”

For St. Charles, it was a much-improved effort from the first matchup between the teams, in which Ecole hosted the Comets and won in three games.

“It was a big improvement for us,” said Cupit. “I felt like we did what we needed to do early. We just didn’t finish.”