ST. MARTINVILLE — Coming off an impressive showing in the tough Broadmoor High tournament over the weekend and a road win over Class 5A Lafayette Monday, St. Martinville head volleyball coach Lucinda Mason hoped her team would continue its strong play when resuming District 2, Division II play Tuesday at home against Westgate.
Though the Lady Tigers swept WHS 25-9, 25-6, 25-23, Mason wasn’t thrilled at the level of intensity she saw from her squad. SMSH had played well for seven games Saturday in Baton Rouge, including wins over St. Michael’s and Sam Houston, both in the Top 20 in the unofficial Division II power rankings from the LHSAA, and against University High, the No. 2 team in the Division IV power rankings. St. Martinville came within a couple of points of beating Barbe, No. 3 in Division I’s unofficial power rankings, in the finals, falling 14-16 in the third and deciding game after splitting the first two against the Lady Bucs.
“I think the varsity … didn’t play with the intensity that we played with over the weekend,” said Mason, whose team improved to 17-7 overall and 1-1 in district.
Chanelle Gardner had 15 kills, a dig and two blocks and Alanna Allen had nine kills, 14 assists, five digs and two aces for St. Martinville. Kadeisha Mitchell led Westgate with four kills and a block and Lateirra Allen had three kills and a block.
The opening game was tied at 9-9 before St. Martinville broke serve, then scored 15 straight points to claim the 25-9 win. Westgate didn’t challenge much in the second game, falling behind 6-1 early and trailing by as much as 18-3 at one point. SMSH closed the set out with a 6-point run to win 25-6.
“St. Martinville is just a really good team,” said WHS assistant coach Adam DeRanger. “We started strong in the first set but that fizzled out. The second game we weren’t really in it, so we tried to get some momentum going into the third one.”
And Westgate (7-12, 0-2) did that, jumping ahead 8-0 and still leading 20-19 before SMSH took the 25-23 win after a see-saw battle over the final 10 points of the match. WHS led 5-0 against St. Martinville junior varsity players before Mason reinserted her starters — four at the 5-0 mark and Gardner after WHS led 7-0.
“When I put the junior varsity players in they couldn’t handle the fact that, ‘Hey, I’m in a varsity match,’” said Mason, who said she wanted to give her starters a little rest, and also substituted because “you don’t want to keep pounding on someone” who’s overmatched.
St. Martinville is ranked fifth in the unofficial Division II power rankings, but Mason knows her team has to play the way it played in the Broadmoor Tournament and not the way it did Tuesday to get where she’d like to see her team, which is deep into the playoffs and state tournament. SMSH still has district matches against Breaux Bridge, currently atop the Division II power rankings with a 21-3 record, and St. Thomas More, seeded fourth with a win at SMSH to its credit in the league opener on Sept. 25. Also on tap are the NISH tournament on Oct. 13 and the ESA Spooktacular on Oct. 25-27, both of which feature some of the top programs from around Acadiana and the state.
“There’s a lot of competition in (district) 2-4A,” said Mason. “Plus we’ve got New Iberia and ESA’s tournament.”
Westgate made St. Martinville fight to get back in the final game. SMSH got to within 10-7 but Westgate pushed back ahead 12-7. SM crept within 12-9, only to see WHS go up 14-9.
That lead got up to 19-15 before St. Martinville closed to within 19-18. The homestanding Lady Tigers made it 20-20 on a kill by Gardner before Westgate’s Macqueline Antoine broke serve with a tap over the net to give her team a 21-20 lead. Westgate pushed its lead to 22-20 before Gardner’s left-handed tap over the net fell for a service break that made it 22-21.
Westgate got the serve back on a kill by Antoine, who finished with four kills and seven digs, but the Lady Tigers then served the ball into the net to turn it back over to St. Martinville, and SMSH got a kill from Gardner and a service ace to take a 24-23 lead, then won it when Gardner blocked a ball that was sent back over the net after a spike attempt.
Halie Day had three kills, 14 assists, two aces, a dig and a block for St. Martinville.
Steante Champ added five kills, an ace, two digs and two blocks; Kelsey Cormier had four kills, four aces and five digs; and Brooke Capritto had three digs.
Zariya Green had five aces and eight assists for Westgate. Kyoko Charles added eight digs and a kill and Brittany Nathan had three digs, an assist and two kills.
St. Martinville continues district play Thursday at Northside. Westgate plays host to STM in a district match Thursday.