LCA dominates in straight sets, Tors improve chemistry

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 22, 2023

SULPHUR — The Sulphur Tors started to put it together in the second set but couldn’t find an answer for Lafayette Christian’s big hitters to avoid the sweep Thursday.

LCA (13-3), the No. 2-rated team in the Division III, won 25-13, 25-22, 25-15 for its seventh consecutive win.

Outside hitter Nadia Donham led the Knights with 15 kills. Middle hitters Ariyonne Etienne (9) and Grace Alexander (5) combined for 14 kills, and outside hitter Eve Alexander added six.

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“We tried preparing for it,” Sulphur head coach Jenny D’Alessandro said. “We knew their outside was doing phenomenal, and the same thing with their right side.

“The libero is digging everything and setting from the back row. They just have an all-around amazing team.”

LCA jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second set after dominating the first. The Knights led by as many as six points before the Tors started to claw their way back. An ace by Olivia Broussard cut the Knights’ lead to 11-8. A 7-1 Sulphur run, powered by a Kierstyn Gremillion block in the middle of the surge, tied it at 20.

The Tors owned a brief 21-20 lead, but the Knights went to Donham for a pair of kills, then one from Grace Alexander in the middle, and Eve Alexander finished the set from the outside.

“I went and talked to them,” D’Alessandro said. “They already knew ahead of time that LCA was going to be a really tough match.

“Earlier in the season we were forgetting the love of volleyball and how much we liked playing. We tried to get a more positive attitude, and they started playing and working together as a team.”

The Tors (5-8) lost for the seventh time in nine matches, but D’Alessandro said she saw big improvements in her team.

“We need to work on our team chemistry,” she said. “That right there was probably the best that they have played in a couple of weeks. They are finally trusting one another, working together and being aggressive, knowing that their team is there to support them. It is a lot better than what it was a few weeks ago.”

Claire Weidner led Sulphur with five kills, followed by Claire Mellard with four and Broussard with two. Judge had 15 assists and eight digs.