Coming off an impressive weekend with a runner-up finish in Division Gray in the H.L. Bourgeois Tournament, Central Catholic coach Kindra Halverson had high hopes for Tuesday’s contest, the first varsity contest the Lady Eagles played in its new competitive gym.
But ESA, like it has in knocking CCHS out of the playoffs in the last two semifinals, put a damper on Halverson’s hopes with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-23) victory against the Lady Eagles Tuesday.
ESA, a Louisiana volleyball powerhouse, used dominate net play by Carla Dibbs (12 kills, three aces and 11 digs) and Elesha Williams (nine kills, five digs and five blocks) as well as CCHS errors to take the first two games.
In game 3, CCHS led for much of the first half of the contest before ESA took the lead for good. CCHS still was able to stay within striking distance, though.
“We kind of got down early,” Halverson said. “We got down on ourselves. Things that usually work weren’t working. They don’t really make a lot of mistakes but when they did, we didn’t capitalize on them. Our passing struggled the first two games. We made some changes in the third game and it really kind of lit a fire but it was too little, too late.”
In the first game ESA never trailed as the squad jumped out to a 7-2 lead on a combination of CCHS hitting errors, an ESA kill and multiple ESA aces.
CCHS could never get closer than four points in the initial game as ESA really started to pull away following a Williams kill to push the lead to 14-9. From then on, the Lady Falcons outscored the Lady Eagles, 11-6, the rest of the way for the victory, which ended on a CCHS serving error.
In game two, ESA jumped out early using its hitting game as well as CCHS errors for a 10-0 run early in the ball game for a commanding 12-1 lead.
The run finally was broken on a Brie Hill kill.
However, ESA continued to hum along as it extended its lead to as much as 16-3 and never were threatened the remainder of the game, which, like game 1, ended on a CCHS serving error.
In game 3, CCHS led for much of the first half of the game but could not extend its lead more than three points.
The early CCHS success was led by Meo Knight, who recorded back-to-back-to-back kills early, the last of which gave CCHS a 3-1 lead.
Her performance was followed by a Gee Garrett solo block for a 4-1 CCHS advantage.
While Knight led the way for CCHS in game 3, Williams, Avery Munson and Dibbs helped ESA keep pace.
The Falcons finally took the lead, 12-11, on an Eleanor Schutte kill.
However, ESA errors kept CCHS in game three late in the contest as CCHS trailed 23-20.
Following a CCHS timeout, back-to-back kills by Celine Flores and Knight cut the ESA advantage to 23-22 and while CCHS kept the advantage to 24-23 a few minutes later, ESA won the match, ironically, on another CCHS service error.
Both teams know this isn’t likely the last meeting between the two as they could bump heads again in the playoffs, possibly with a championship at stake.
While she would like for her squad to have played better Tuesday, Halverson put the loss in perspective.
“It’s not that we didn’t want to win,” Halverson said of Tuesday’s matchup. “That’s what I kept telling the girls. I know everybody wants to win. We want our revenge on them. It’s our turn. But this isn’t the game necessarily that matters in the long run. I hope that we face them in the playoffs where it counts and I hope that we could get our revenge then. I hope we can face them, hopefully in the finals, maybe semifinals, depending on how seeds line up. But I really hope to face them again and iron out some kinks before then.”
ESA coach Julie Dawson said she was happy with her squad’s performance against a potential title contender.
“Central Catholic is a very strong, athletic team,” Dawson said. “They really give us a hard time every year. Year in and year out, it’s a very talented program. It’s nice to see them early in the season as well as late in the season.”
CCHS will return to action today when it faces Terrebonne High at home.
Action will begin with junior varsity at 5 p.m. followed by varsity at 6 p.m.