Dutchtown turns back ‘Cats

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011



RESERVE — Dutchtown coach Patrick Ricks brought a strong team to Troy C. Giordano Memorial Gym Thursday and emerged with a win, as the favored Griffins were expected to do.

But not lost on the coach after Dutchtown’s 25-17, 25-12 and 25-21 district victory was the improvement flashed by the Ladycats under first year coach Avignon Williams.

“You can see it in their attitude,” said Ricks. “They’re playing together as a unit. They do a much better job controlling the ball than in the past. You can see tremendous improvement … (Coach Williams) is doing a really impressive job with them.”

The Wildcats dropped to 0-2 within district play with the loss, after falling at St. Amant Tuesday.

But ESJ didn’t appear overmatched against the Griffins, something most apparent in the match’s final game, in which ESJ led throughout before a Dutchtown rally sealed a Griffins’ victory.

“I was happy with the way the girls came out and fought tonight,” said Williams. “They gave a great effort. Anything less, against a team with Dutchtown’s ability, it could have been a bad night for us. I’m proud of them.”

ESJ jumped out to an early lead before Dutchtown tied things up at five. From there, the teams traded the advantage until Leiah Turner’s tip ignited a quick 4-0 run that also included a Domonique White dink and a Diranique Daniels kill, pushing ESJ ahead 15-11.

“After losing the first games, we wanted to push to keep the match going,” said ESJ’s Elizabeth Scioneaux. “We kept each other up, kept each other motivated.”

Dutchtown (15-8, 1-1) scored four of the next five points, including an ace by Brooke Wells, to make it a one-point game at 16-15, then Torie Fournet’s dink again pulled DHS within one at 17-16.

Tyronne Deary capped a long exchange between the teams with a scoring hit to push the Ladycats ahead by two. A return into the net by Dutchtown made it 19-16.

“Our goal going into the last game was to not let any one server serve more than two times in a row,” said Williams. “Don’t let them go on a run. That kept us in it.”

The Griffins scored the next two points, Taylor Nevils’ ace making it 19-18. But after an ESJ timeout, the Wildcats scored again after a Dutchtown return error.

But that’s when the tide turned to Dutchtown for good. Fournet slammed home a kill, then an ESJ return sailed out of bounds to tie the game. Fournet’s ace gave Dutchtown its first lead since it led 1-0.

A Hannah Lentz kill made it 23-20. Fournet served another ace before another of her offerings hit the net. But a Jodi Hill kill finished things for Dutchtown.

The two teams traded points early in the first game. After a 5-0 surge by Dutchtown gave the Griffins a 15-10 lead, a block for a kill by Dawn Rush and another by Turner made it 15-12. An ace by Jessica Sanford pulled ESJ within two at 17-15. Then Dutchtown went on a run, scoring the next seven points including four aces by Wells and pair of kills by Lauren Mills. A Wildcats return error clinched the win for DHS.

ESJ led 9-7 in the second game before Dutchtown took over; an 12-2 run put the Griffins ahead 18-11, and they’d control things from there.

Scioneaux said that this year’s Wildcats team is more unified.

“Outside of volleyball, we socialize and enjoy being around each other,” she said. “We’re closer on the court and off.”