Veteran Bucs show endurance, outlast Saints in five sets

Published 2:39 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

The Barbe Bucs volleyball team has made a complete 360-degree turn since last season.

The Bucs went winless in 2020 but are 6-2 this season after a five-set 20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11 win over St. Louis Catholic Thursday evening at S.J. Welsh Middle School.

“We have a fight and a want,” Barbe head coach Katie Franks said. “We weren’t going to let what happened last year happen again this year. We worked hard in the offseason, and we worked hard this summer. We were wanting to come back and win this year. I haven’t had a team that wanted to fight in four years, so it is nice to see that.”

It was Barbe’s second consecutive five-set win.

The Bucs are living a nomadic life while repairs continue to their home gym that was heavily damaged by two hurricanes last year.

But Barbe has a strong senior group that has led the way. Outside hitter Sarah David had 12 kills and 14 digs, Mia Owens posted 10 kills and 10 digs. Sadie Guillory added 28 assists, and Julia Landry finished with seven kills.

“We have good leadership,” Franks said. “We have a lot of seniors this year.

“We just have to come out and fight each game. (Davis) is a great leader on the court. She came out swinging. She has worked hard to get to where she is at today.”

Barbe started slow, losing the first set after leading by as many as four points but won the next two sets despite more than a dozen service errors.

“We came out sluggish and we practiced sluggish the day before,” Franks said. “I tell them all the time that you are going to play like you practice.

“We don’t give up till the end, and that is what you have to have this season to compete. We had way too many service errors. That can’t happen. We probably had more than 20 service errors, so that is something that we are going to have to get back to practice and work on.”

St. Louis rallied in the fourth set after falling behind by five points, and Ella DeMolle broke a 23-23 tie with a kill.

“We have been focusing a lot on ball control,” St. Louis head coach Elizabeth Thompson said. “I think our ball control and staying poised in crazy plays has really benefited us.”

But the Saints never led in the deciding fifth set despite pulling within 13-11 on back-to-back kills by Dillon Anderson.

“We are still a pretty young team so we are figuring some things out,” Thompson said. “We have been a little bit all over the place.

“We came out ready to go. The first set looked good, then we wavered a little bit in the second and kept waffling back and forth after that.”

Anderson led St. Louis (3-5) with 10 kills and 10 assists, while DeMolle finished with eight kills.