Rams start strong, but fall to Warriors

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2011



EDGARD — Already with a district loss and knowing league wins would be at a premium in a rock-hard District 5-V, West St. John went right at Houma Christian and pushed the Warriors to the limit in the opening game of their match Thursday.

But Houma Christian, the sixth-ranked team in Division V in terms of power points, escaped the contest with a 25-23 victory, and rolled from there to a win in three games, 25-23, 25-4, 25-9.

Deja Feist led the Rams with five blocks.

After the teams traded scores early, Houma Christian appeared to seize control of the first game, as a 6-0 run midmatch fueled by three putaways by Elgeiana Green gave the Warriors (20-8, 2-0) a 14-6 advantage; another quick run of three made it 17-8.

But West St. John (7-13, 0-2) started to heat up and went on a tear of its own. A Feist dink capped a 5-0 run that made it 17-13; Donasia Bell accounted for a score after popping the ball over into an empty zone to kickstart another 3-0 run that made it 18-16.

Kendra Turner answered for Houma Christian, slamming a kill to make it 21-17. The Rams wouldn’t fold, though. Arnelle Jack spiked for a score and then consecutive aces by Feist made it 21-20. Turner dinked and the Warriors scored three of the next four to put WSJ on the brink of elimination, but a block by Jack and an ace by Da’Nae Lumar cut the lead to one.

“We limited the mistakes that we’d make later on,” said West St. John coach Brandon Dumas. “We made a lot of blocks at the net which gave them something to think about in terms of how they attacked us.”

But after the Rams staved off elimination by digging out a potential Green kill, Anna LeJeune put the game away for the Warriors as she tapped the ball into an empty area.

Shelby West helped Houma Christian get off to a fast start in the second game, and it never looked back. West scored on a tap and a spike as the Warriors went ahead 3-0. Breion Sorapuru’s ace brought the Rams within two, but then Houma Christian took off, scoring the seven points — including two aces by LeJeune and a kill by West. WSJ scored two more to make it 10-4, but those were the last points the Rams would score; a run of 15 straight points closed the game, including five aces by West.

“I thought once they got out to a big lead, our confidence got a little down,” said Dumas. “It snowballed. We have to learn that the game isn’t ever over until that 25th point is scored. You’re still capable of winning a set when you fall behind.”

The third game saw the teams trade blows early, but Houma Christian put together another run to effectively end the Ram threat. Leading 8-5, Lindsay Crowdus’ kill sparked an 8-0 run; she’d also end the run with a kill, making it 16-5. Houma Christian coasted from there.

“I thought we did a better job with our rotations after the first game,” said Warriors coach Chelsey Nicholas. “We changed our lineup a bit. I had to get on their butts … you have to learn how to go in and take care of business when you have an early lead. When you don’t finish games like you should, you see things like what happened in the first game happen.

“We definitely pushed the tempo in games two and three. We play a fast-paced volleyball game, and when you do that, a lot of teams aren’t going to be used to it.”

Dumas said he felt the team’s performance in the early going was something to build upon.

“It’s like I preach to the girls all the time, you can compete with these teams,” he said. “That first game was an example. Now, you take it as motivation into that next game.”

On Tuesday, West St. John fell to second-ranked Central Catholic (23-5, 2-0), falling 25-7, 25-9 and 25-14.

Feist had seven blocks and two kills in the game.

West St. John returns to action Tuesday for another district game, on the road at Centerville.

The start is set for 5 p.m.