Lutcher on to 2nd ever semifinal

Published 4:28 am Saturday, November 16, 2013


LAPLACE — Lutcher coach Ricky LeBlanc said he had been waiting for this senior class to arrive for a while. And on Thursday, they and their Bulldogs teammates punched their ticket to the Division III semifinals.
Lutcher swept Iota at the Pontchartrain Center Thursday, taking a 27-25, 25-14 and 25-12 victory in the state quarterfinals.
Jariel Tureaud and Janaya Taylor each had nine kills for the Bulldogs. The duo also had five and two blocks respectively. Chelsie Kinler served six aces. Tamryn Louque racked up 25 assists, while Avarie Louque made 18 digs.
“We didn’t want to have to play a lot of games,” said Tureaud. “We wanted to conserve some energy if possible. To win today, it feels awesome. We feel like we’ve got the team that can take it this year. We’re working together and keeping our energy up.”
The Bulldogs were scheduled to face top seeded Teurlings Catholic on Friday, after presstime.
Lutcher advanced to the semifinals for the second time in school history, the first coming in 2008.
“I’ve been waiting for this group for a long time. These three seniors have been playing together for nine, 10 years,” said LeBlanc, talking about Kinler, Courtney St. Pierre and Tamyrn Louque. “Then Jariel was added to the mix as a 7th grader. I was waiting for this year because I felt this group had a chance to do something special.”
Lutcher dominated from the middle of the second game on, after earning a hard fought first game from Iota.
That first game saw the Bulldogs score the final three points, starting with a Tureaud kill to tie things up. Kinler served an ace to put LHS ahead and Tureaud clinched things with a block.
“I thought we had some jitters in the first game,” said LeBlanc. “We were a little shaky for awhile until we found our rhythm.”
Iota jumped ahead in the second game, Taylor DeVille’s block making it a 7-3 game. But Tureaud got Lutcher rolling with a kill an then a block to make it 7-6. A Kinler ace tied things up, then Tureaud tipped a ball to make it 8-7. Kinler served another ace and then, after a Iota return error, one more to push LHS ahead 11-7. A Madison Meche kill broke up the Bulldog run.
The momentum still stayed with LHS. Lutcher led 14-13 when it took off for good, outscoring Iota 11-1 the rest of the way and sealing a 2-0 lead on a Taylor kill.
“They’ve been doing this all year,” LeBlanc said of Tureaud and Taylor. “It’s always a big plus to have players who can hit like they can. They also did a great job of blocking.”
Lutcher wasted no time screaming out to a big early lead in the third game, a Taylor kill setting the tone off the bat. Lutcher took a 10-2 lead, then ran off six consecutive points after a brief Iota flurry to make it 16-5.
Iota never recovered. It cut Lutcher’s lead to as little as six at 18-12, but the Bulldogs did not allow another point after that, finishing the game and the match on a 7-0 run.
Madison Benoit led Iota (32-9) with seven kills and four blocks. Emily Montz served an ace. Mallory Faul made 14 assists and Jillian Boone made 45 digs.
The win improved Lutcher to 31-8. The team’s 31 wins are the most in program history.