Central Catholic High School volleyball players, from left, Taylor Picou, Lexi Landry and Caroline Green, celebrate after a point in Thursday's contest against False River Academy. Central Catholic won the match in straight sets. (The Daily Review/Mico Aloisio)
CCHS defeats False River in straight sets
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the No. 4 seed Central Catholic Lady Eagles were able to knock off enough rust from an eight-day layoff for a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-12) victory against No. 13 seed False River Academy in second-round Division V playoff action in Morgan City Thursday.
False River kept things close in the first two games before Central Catholic took charge in game three and never was seriously threatened.
“We started off a little slow, but eventually, we picked it up with our serving game, and we were able to control some things up at the net,” Central Catholic Coach Latashia Wise said.
With the win, the Lady Eagles return to the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner for the Division V quarterfinal round. Central Catholic will meet No. 5 St. John Nov. 9 at a yet-to-be-announced time. St. John defeated No. 12 Academy of Sacred Heart of Grand Coteau 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-21) in other regional action Tuesday.
“They’re very, very excited,” Wise said of her team returning to the state tournament. “This is something we’ve been talking about since way back in June. It’s always exciting when you get to go back to the Pontchartrain Center, even if it’s year after year after year. With so many injuries and … people getting sick, and anytime you can make it back, it’s always a good thing.”
As for Thursday’s match, Game 1 featured multiple ties and lead changes. Central Catholic took the lead for good at 13-12 on a kill by Haley Fontenot, which started a 6-0 Central Catholic run and prompted a False River timeout after a block by Johnson gave Central Catholic an 18-12 lead.
False River would get no closer than five points the rest of the way, and Central Catholic closed the set on a Sydney Williams kill for a 25-16 win.
Again, game two was close as the largest lead for either team through the mid-way point of the match was a three-point lead by False River at 14-11 on a Central Catholic hitting error.
With the game tied at 16 after a Central Catholic hitting error in the net, the Lady Eagles outscored their visitors 9-1 the rest of the contest, with the game concluding on a block by Green.
Central Catholic never trailed in game three and took as much as a 12 point lead on five occasions, the last on a Green block for a 24-12 advantage.
The match ended with a double-hit called on False River for a 25-12 Central Catholic lead.
As a team, Central Catholic had 47 assists and 18 solo blocks.
While Johnson turned in her usual solid stat line with nine kills, one assist, three aces, eight digs and five solo blocks, teammate Green also shined in the victory, In addition to three kills, she had 10 solo blocks and one block assist. Fontenot also put down some solid kills en route to a five-kill performance along with one assist and four digs.
“They’ve been key for us down the stretch,” Wise said of Green and Fontenot. “Caroline has had her moments for us throughout the entire season, but towards the end part of (the) season, the last month or so, she really has come around and (has) been a force for our volleyball team.”
Other top Central Catholic contributors were Katie Hoffpauir, 26 assists and one dig; Quincee Wiggins, two aces and 21 digs; Taylor Picou, 19 assists and three digs; Williams, six kills, three digs, two solo blocks and one block assist; Bailee Lipari, one kill, one ace and nine digs; and Ava Nicar, five digs.
Carley Parks led False River with 41 assists, while Lexi Sellars had 28 digs. Other top contributors were Katelyn Brooks, five kills and two blocks, and Mari Blair Webre, one ace, two digs and two kills.