No. 4 Lady Eagles sweep White Castle

PETER SILAS PASQUA news@postsouth.com
St. John's Victoria Weaver sends a shot over White Castle's Erica Jones and Ariel Bell in the third game of the Lady Eagles' 25-15, 25-17, 25-11 District 3-V sweep on Oct. 9. Weaver had 10 kills in the win.

St. John of Plaquemine continued to roll through District 3-V play with a 25-15, 25-17, 25-11 sweep of White Castle on Oct. 9 at SJHS' gym.

The Lady Eagles (30-5, 7-0) improved upon their school record in wins set last year when they finished 28-13 after falling to Episcopal of Acadiana in the Division V quarterfinals of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Volleyball Tournament at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner and are currently No. 4 in official power ranking released by the LHSAA.

"We have had a pretty good year so far but we just have to keep getting better for the playoffs," St. John coach Chase Mancuso said. "This is the first group we had when I came in four years ago and they have a lot of experience. Most have been starting since they were sophomores and they are not just satisfied with just playing hard. They want to win.

"We have put an emphasis on competing no matter the level of our competition and a real big focus has been not having a let down. I think our preparation has really put us in a good position to compete and I think the girls are up to the challenge."

Jessie Brown had eight kills, seven digs and five aces for the Lady Eagles. Victoria Weaver added 10 kills and three aces.

Randi Seneca had 25 assists and Kamryn Theriot had 23 digs, four kills and two aces. Keri Yarbrough added five kills and Jayme Rivet had seven digs and three aces.

"Hats off to them," White Castle coach Tammy Pierce said. "They have come a long way and it is due time for them. The difference is they are veterans and have more experience.

"We are young and every year we lose a lot of girls so it is a rebuilding phase and the girls are still trying to learn the game whereas they have been playing together a long time. We don't get a chance to play all year round and they have that opportunity."

Skylar O'Bear led the Lady Bulldogs (12-9, 3-4) with seven kills, 13 digs and two aces and assists. Shylar O'Bear added 14 digs and 13 assists and Ariel Bell had three kills and six digs.

Brown's consecutive kills opened the first set before Yarbrough's made it 4-1. Rivet's consecutive aces pushed the lead to 15-4 following Kaycee Keller's block before kills from Skylar O'Bear and Erica Jones.

Bell's dink cut it to 22-12 but Yarbrough's set up game point on Theriot's kill following an attack error.

White Castle jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set courtesy a pair of aces by O'Bear and kill from Tylar Kelly but Keller's dink and Weaver's kill cut it to 6-4.

Jones blocked Weaver twice to help the Lady Bulldogs maintain the lead but Morgan LeBlanc blocked O'Bear.

The Lady Eagles got a hold of a 16-4 run and went ahead for good on Weaver's kill after Kelly's ace put White Castle ahead 13-9. Brown's ace proved set point after consecutive aces and a pair of attack errors.

"We came wanting to play better in the second set but the momentum changed when the ball got taken out of one of our better server's hands," Pierce said.

St. John built a 12-3 on Brown's ace in the final set after Theriot and Weaver sandwiched kills around another ace. O'Bear's kill cut it to 14-7 following Seneca's ace but the St. John closed out the match on an 11-4 run.

"Our goal was to not make mistakes and put pressure on them by forcing errors," Mancuso said. "They are athletic and if we put the ball on the net, they are going to make plays. Our emphasis was making good passes to our setter and stopping them from making a run."

Weaver's kill was match point after a service error. Theriot's ace had put the Lady Eagles ahead 22-9.

St. John was scheduled to travel to Ascension Christian Oct. 15 before hosting Catholic of Pointe Coupee today and Ascension Catholic Monday.

White Castle defeated Catholic - Pointe Coupee 20-25, 30-28, 26-24, 25-15 Oct. 11 and was scheduled to travel to Ascension Catholic Oct. 16 before hosting False River Thursday and Pointe Coupee Central Tuesday to wrap up the regular season.

In other volleyball action, Plaquemine (3-17, 0-5) defeated Baker 25-11, 25-5, 25-17 on Oct. 8 before falling to Lutcher 25-12, 25-16, 25-13 on Oct. 10 in District 4-II play. The Lady Green Devils were scheduled to travel to Tara Oct. 15 before hosting McKinley Oct. 17 and will wrap up the regular season on the road against Broadmoor Oct. 22 and Ascension Catholic Oct. 24.

East Iberville wraps up the regular season by hosting Hosanna Christian Oct. 23 after traveling to Southern Lab Oct. 18.