Balanced St. Joseph’s too much for St. Amant

Balance is a beautiful thing in most sports and St. Joseph’s Academy showed how it can work in volleyball Wednesday night.

The unbeaten Redstickers had five players finish with six or more kills and three contribute 10 or more digs in a 3-0 victory over St. Amant in a contest played at SJA. St. Joseph’s (4-0) won by set scores of 25-8, 25-22 and 25-6.

It was second impressive victory in as many days for a Redstickers squad that also swept New Orleans area power Fontainebleau in Mandeville on Tuesday.

“At this point in the season, I think you play a tough schedule,” St. Joseph’s coach Sivi Miller said. “You’re getting games in before district.

“We did go back-to-back. But, however, we did have that low (point), a ton of errors in the second set. That’s what we’re working on, not handing over points with unforced errors.

“I think there’s a lot of talent on this team. It’s a matter of getting our system to work together. It’s early in the season and there are many things we’ll be working on.”

The Redstickers looked like anything but a work in progress in the first and third sets. Katherine Young finished with nine kills and 10 digs for SJA. Other leaders included Madison Daigle (eight kills, six blocks), Sydney Davis (six kills, 12 digs), Hanna Rovira (seven kills, two blocks), Jacie McClure (10 digs), Caitlin Carlos (13 assists) and Parker Harrell (six kills, six blocks and 17 assists).

Unforced errors also were an issue for St. Amant (1-3), which lost senior hitter Toni Rodriguez to a knee injury in last Thursday’s loss to Mount Carmel. Libero Kara Gremillion was sidelined with a possible concussion before set No. 3 on Wednesday.

Kelly Young had 14 assists and two digs for St. Amant, which also got five kills and two blocks from Alli Duplechein, along with five kills and three digs from Kayla Braud.

“The second set is more like what we looked like at Country Day Monday night,” St. Amant coach Allison Leake said. “The first set, I don’t know what happened. I guess they were intimidated and just didn’t know what to expect. They played very timid. The third set, it was a repeat of last Thursday.”

The score was tied only once, at 2-2, in the opening set. A combination of St. Amant errors and kills by Young, Daigle and Harrell helped St. Joseph’s quickly extend its lead. SJA scored 14 of the next 15 points. Kills by Davis, Young and Rovira helped the home team close out the first set.

The serving of Kelly Young helped the Gators open up a 6-3 lead in the second set. St. Joseph’s countered and led 15-11. But back came St. Amant. The set was tied seven times in its final stages.

Rodriguez provided a lift from the bench, leading the St. Amant fans in cheers.

A Gators hitting error gave SJA a 22-21 edge. Rovira smashed a kill down the middle to make it 23-21. Katherine Young and Morgan Bell closed out the set with two more kills.

“I think our serving worked really well,” Young said. “Overall, I thought we had a nice rhythm. We kept the ball in play and our fast pace made it harder for them to return the ball.”

Two aces by Davis for the Redstickers off to a fast start in the third set. Katherine Young added three quick kills as SJA raced out to a 9-0 lead. Later, Young would add a couple of aces.

Another ace, this one by Harrell, closed out the contest.