Patriots best Rebs in key district battle

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 4, 2013


LAPLACE — There was an electric, playoff-like atmosphere in Reserve Tuesday as Riverside hosted John Curtis. Curtis coach Dawn Curtis explained why.
“If it’s Riverside and John Curtis, we want to beat each other,” said Curtis. “That goes for every sport.”
In this case, Curtis and her Patriots got a leg up in the rivalry — and in the District 4-IV race — by defeating the Rebels in a heated four-games, 25-18, 22-25, 25-23 and 26-24.
Curtis’ Sarah Drake was the top producer for the Patriots (12-4), tallying 14 kills to go along with seven digs and three aces. Carsyn Wallow made 10 kills. Reaghan Fabacher had 36 assists.
Riverside’s Kendra Turner was dominant, logging 35 kills, 10 digs and four aces. In the Rebels’ lone win, Turner closed things out by slamming down kills on five of Riverside’s final six points.
But in the other three games, Curtis closed strong.
“We need all six (players) on the court to be on their game,  not just one or two,” said Riverside coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas. “I have a good team. I know I have a good team. But teams are gonna bring their A-game every time they play us. We’ve got to respond to that challenge.”
Neither side led by more than two until Wallow’s kill late in the fourth game made it a 22-19 Patriots advantage.
A Turner kill shifted momentum — and the serve — back to the Rebels (22-7), and Briley Becker immediately served an ace that skipped right over the net to make it 22-21. RA tied it up on a Curtis error.
The next point led to controversy. Becker’s serve to the back line was originally ruled inbounds before the call was reversed; Curtis’ bench exploded at the original call, leading to a yellow card being issued.
“I appreciate their intensity, but they need to let us handle that and understand their role,” said Curtis.
After the reversal, Turner brought the Rebels to the brink of victory with two kills, the second a violent spike that yielded a strong crowd reaction. But Drake answered, tying things up with a spike of her own. A Rebels error put Curtis ahead, and a Turner spike out of play gave the Patriots the clinching win.
Curtis came out hot in the first game and led 10-5 before two Toni Hebert kills sparked the Rebels. Riverside earned its first lead after a string of three kills by Maya Bolden, Hebert and Cameron Hymel made it 18-16. But Curtis took over from there, stealing momentum after a kill by Drake sparked a run of nine straight points to close things out, capped by a Kelsie Oestriecher ace. Wallow scored three blocks in that run.
Riverside responded in the second game, jumping out to a 9-3 lead. Curtis climbed back into it slowly before eventually tying things up at 17 on a Drake kill. Tatiana Bell’s spike tied it at 22.
But then Turner took over and slammed three kills in a row, the third of which a thunderous slam that sealed the victory.
“She was 10 feet in the air,” said Lucas-Nicholas.
Riverside took an early 11-6 lead in the third game and led 14-10 before a 5-1 Curtis run tied things up. With the score tied at 21, a pair of Riverside return errors and a kill by Wallow made it 24-21. Riverside fought to win a long rally and then a Turner kill cut the RA deficit to one, but a serving error clinched it for Curtis.
Curtis smiled with a bit of exasperation when asked how the Patriots attempted to slow Turner, particularly in endgame situations.
“She’s gonna have her kills. She’s a very good player,” said Curtis. “You just do what you can to try to keep it away from her as much as possible. When she was rotated in the back row, our goal was to gain as much ground as we could.”
Lucas-Nicholas felt the Rebels lacked aggressiveness.
“Hit it at them,” said Lucas-Nicholas. “You can’t baby the ball. Be aggressive. We didn’t do it enough.”
Dani Hebert finished with 35 assists, four aces and 10 digs for Riverside. Toni Hebert had 20 assists and three aces. Jordan Duhon made 15 digs and served two aces.
RIVERSIDE BESTS BREAUX BRIDGE IN FOUR — The Rebels (23-7) bounced back Thursday with a 28-26, 25-23, 23-25 and 25-18 victory.
Turner had 38 kills and four aces while Dani Hebert had 40 assists with four aces. Duhon led the team defensively with 21 digs while adding three aces.
The split this week followed a weekend that saw Riverside beat three teams at the St. Thomas Aquinas tournament: host St. Thomas Aquinas, Hammond and Ascension Catholic. The Rebels won each match in two straight sets.