Prep Volleyball: Broncos win creates six-way tie

MOSS BLUFF — Aggressive play at the net helped Sam Houston rally to beat Southside in four sets, 11-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-20 Tuesday to create a log jam at the top in Division I, District 2 volleyball standings.

“We have a constant conversation that I believe in them, but if they don’t believe in themselves, we are still going to lose,” Sam Houston head coach Rene Fontenot said.

“You have to find a way to have the confidence required to be productive.

“I think when they get in the right head space, there is no stopping them.”

Sam Houston (17-9, 2-1 district), Southside (11-5, 2-1), Acadiana (18-8, 2-1) Lafayette (13-4, 2-1), Sulphur (19-7, 2-1), Comeaux (13-5, 2-1) are tied for the district lead. Sam Houston will play today at Lafayette.

“All of our (district) teams are very comparable,” Fontenot said. “We can’t walk in and think it is going to be OK for anybody. I am excited about going to Lafayette today.”

The Broncos struggled in the first set as they were unable to match up with the Sharks’ Charlotte Hawkins and Ava Dupre, who combined for nine kills. But the Broncos adjusted and held the duo to 13 kills over the next three sets.

“It was the quality of our first contacts,” Fontenot said. “There were six one-passes in the row where we had only one shot to set outside.

“I always say defense is a mind-set. They know what to do and know where to go. We just talked about what is at stake, what is required, and did we want to repeat set one? It was a ‘No.’”

Sam Houston’s Emma Gentry finished with 16 kills, while Mallory Wills was key in stopping Hawkins and Dupre with eight kills and seven blocks. Gentry had several powerful shots, including from the back row on well-placed sets from Jacie Semien, who finished with 26 assists.

“Because we are in the altered 5-1, sometimes we are having to use (Gentry),” Fontenot said. “It worked well.

“Sometimes, when we do it in a regular game, it is overusing Emma, and it costs us. But tonight, I think we needed it, and it was a smart decision by Jacie (Semien).”

Sam Houston trailed for most of the opening set and early in the second before back-to-back kills by Adyson Connor evened the score at 16-16. Gentry had two kills to close out the set.

Wills had a kill and block that helped Sam Houston build a six-point lead in the third set.

Gentry helped power a 7-1 run to break open the final set with a kill and ace.

Hawkins led Southside with 13 kills.

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