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Sunday, May 26, 2019

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Lady Tarpons punch ticket to Pontchartrain Center

Lady Tarpons punch ticket to Pontchartrain Center

They did it again!

For the second-straight season, the South Lafourche High School volleyball team is going to the LHSAA State Volleyball Tournament in Kenner.

The Lady Tarpons punched their ticket to the State Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon in a thrilling four-set win over Lakeshore. South Lafourche lost the first set 23-25, but then rallied back to score three-straight (25-21, 25-14, 25-22) to secure the match.

It’s the second time in school history that South Lafourche makes it to the Pontchartrain Center.

The Lady Tarpons will try and continue their ride to the State Championship alive on Thursday against Ben Franklin at 4:20 p.m.

Coach Jamie Cantrelle said having been to Kenner before will be beneficial to the Lady Tarpons who now know what to expect and have all of the first-time jitters gone.

“We definitely are,” Cantrelle said when asked if the team was more ready to compete at the top level. “I think playing at the Vandebilt Tournament at the Pontchartrain Center kind of gave us a feel for what it’s going to be like over there. Of course, the atmosphere is going to be really crazy. We know what it’s like there. We know what the atmosphere is like. I think this time, we’re going in and we’re ready and we’re focused and ready to play.”

Saturday’s match was a heavyweight fight. Lakeshore came to play, but the Lady Tarpons were just a little bit better at the end of the day.

In the first set, Lakeshore jumped ahead early on the powerful right arm of outside hitter Sarah Tucker, who was dominant throughout the match for the Lady Titans.

But South Lafourche tinkered with its alignments and made a few small adjustments in the rest of the match, which allowed for the four-set win.

In the second set, the teams fought blow-for-blow with Lakeshore drawing within 1 point in the middle of the set, trailing 15-14.

But South Lafourche used powerful offense from seniors Taylor Toups, Abigail Bouzigard, Marcelle Pitre and underclassmen Claire Chiasson and Ava Pitre to secure the set. South Lafourche setter Sierra Lerille was also huge throughout the match with pinpoint ball placement to allow the outside hitters to roam at the net.

In the third set, it was South Lafourche’s defense that took control. Lakeshore made the first run, taking a 9-6 lead. But with Tucker playing her best, South Lafourche stiffened with excellent back-line play from Jacie LeBoeuf, Bailey Melancon and Alissa Cosse, which enabled the team to score an easy third-set win and their first lead of the match. The Lady Tarpons ended the set winning 19 of the final 24 points, which sent the jam-packed crowd into a frenzy.

Cantrelle said the fans were a huge part of the match.

“We have the best, most supportive fans,” she said.

In the fourth, the Lady Titans refused to bow, battling South Lafourche throughout the set. Lakeshore led 12-9 midway through the set, then 16-13.

But like they did in the third set, South Lafourche stiffened defensively, securing several long rallies for points, while cleaning up some service errors that plagued the team earlier in the match.

At match point and with South Lafourche up 24-22, Tucker served it into play. Toups dug it to Lerille, who set it to Chiasson.

Chiasson rose above the defense, smashed it into the finger tips of a Lakeshore defender, which caused the ball to ricochet onto the floor, thus sealing the win.

South Lafourche players stormed the floor after the win with players and coaches relishing the moment. But after the fact, Cantrelle said South Lafourche is heading to Kenner with a new mindset and a desire to go to the state tournament and win.

But she added that she’s also happy with the way the team played in such a high-stakes game.

“I’m super proud of the way they performed today,” Cantrelle said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match. We knew we had to come out swinging. We went down that first set, but I knew the girls were focused after that. We were ready to play and we definitely performed very well after that.”