Wildcats defeat Rams, win 1st 2 of year

Published 4:10 am Saturday, September 7, 2013


LAPLACE — Though West St. John fought back after a dominating start by East St. John Tuesday, the Wildcats regained their momentum to start their season off right with a 25-11, 23-25, 25-17 and 25-17 victory over host WSJ in Edgard in the volleyball season opener for both teams.
“We kind of lost focus after the first game,” said ESJ senior hitter Al’lante Snyder. “After the second game, we came together and started communicating like we needed to. We know we can do this. If we stick together, we feel like our best is better than anyone else’s. Twice as good.”
The Wildcats wasted no time taking an early advantage against the Rams, led by an early surge of aces by Elizabeth Scioneaux, who launched three in a row to put ESJ ahead 6-0.
A pair of kills by Snyder and three aces by Melinda Perrilloux helped push the lead to 16-1, and a 10-0 run with Perrilloux at the serving line put things ultimately out of reach for WSJ. Snyder clinched the game with a spike to put ESJ ahead in the match 1-0.
ESJ led early in the second game, but this time the Rams stayed close. West St. John ultimately took a 10-8 lead after four consecutive aces by Kaieonne Sorapuru. A kill by Dmyriah Herbert gave West St. John a 13-10 advantage, and Brittany August’s ace made it a 15-12 lead.
The Wildcats marched back and took a 19-18 lead on a tip by Chanell Simmons. But consecutive errors by ESJ put the Rams back on top. East St. John scored three in a row, Perrilloux’s tip and Snyder’s kill making it a 22-20 ESJ lead. The Wildcats couldn’t close the game though; Mychelle Lumar scored on a hit to cut the lead to 22-21, and it ignited a game-ending 5-1 run capped by a ESJ double-hit violation, and the Rams took game two, tying the match 1-1.
“My girls were extremely nervous in that first game,” said West St. John coach Glenda Rush. “To their credit, they picked it up after that. We’re very young. I know these girls have the skill, but it’s gonna come down to them believing that themselves. We calmed down in the second game and our performance was much better after that.”
WSJ took a 2-0 lead in the third game after a tip by Sorapuru and an ace by August, but ESJ took control for good, taking a 5-4 lead then never trailing again. The Wildcats clinched the game on a pair of aces by Snyder for the final two points in a 25-17 victory.
It proved a similar story in the final game. This time, Snyder racked up kills on three of her team’s first 10 points as it took an early 10-5 lead. A pair of Jessica Scioneaux scoring hits in the late stages of the contest helped push the ESJ lead to 23-16, and a pair of Ram errors closed things out.
East St. John coach Ronnie Smith said that it was a matter of regaining focus after the second game.
“You can’t get overconfident after one game,” said Smith. “We made a lot of serving errors in that second game. It was the same thing in the jamboree, and that comes back to focus. West St. John fought all day. They weren’t going to give us a thing. They worked hard and that’s a well-coached team. We can’t afford those lapses.”
The Wildcats return five seniors this season, including four starters.
“That leadership helped a lot today in getting us regrouped,” said Smith.
For West St. John, there were numerous new faces on the court. Rush said that there will be a growing process this season for her young team — the Rams boast just one senior.
“We’re working on coming together right now,” said Rush. “We’re going to lean a lot on Kaieonne Sorapuru and Tre’Shaun Trench. Those are two of my most seasoned players. Kaieonne has a lot of talent, and for her it’ll be about finding consistency. Tre’Shaun runs our offense and defense and gets us into our sets.”
The Wildcats had a surprisingly strong start last season immediately after Hurricane Issac, but the team faded without a home gym and facilities as the season went on.  The team began playing home games at Leon Godchaux Jr. High, but only very late in the season.
This season, Snyder said the Ladycats have an eye squarely on the postseason.
“We stuck together through Issac,” she said. “This is a family. It’s better this year and we know we can regroup. When things are going poorly, we’ll pick each other up.”
ESJ BESTS ELLENDER IN THREE — The Wildcats toppled Ellender Thursday night to move to 2-0, winning 26-24, 25-20 and 25-17.
Eden Keller finished with 22 assists. Elizabeth Scioneaux served four aces, while Al’lante Snyder racked up 18 kills.