Ascension Catholic battles rival St. John to 3-2 win

Michael Tortorich

There was no shortage of drama Friday night as St. John had an answer for Ascension Catholic's first and third set wins.

In the deciding final set, the Bulldogs slammed the door on the 3-2 victory, jumping out early and cruising to a 15-5 winning score.

Ascension Catholic (9-9, 3-0 in district) outlasted St. John (8-9, 2-1 in district) by scores of 25-20, 13-25, 26-24, 19-25, 15-5.

"I thought they started off strong, but I don't think we played our best game," Ascension Catholic head coach Janelle Leonard said. "I think the fact that we were playing St. John and they've always been a big rival with Ascension Catholic had a bit to do with it. I thought St. John served better than us, but I thought in other aspects of the game we were on top of our game."

Fans packed the gym for the Friday contest as both schools' football teams had the night off.

"They made it exciting and gave the crowd a good show," Leonard added.

Catherine Rome led the Bulldogs with 16 kills, while Angelle Theriot and MacKenzie Marroy each had eight. Kaitlyn Brooks added seven.

Alexia Leonard compiled a total of 30 digs. Rome recorded 15, while Madison Tripode collected 13.

"Angelle Theriot stepped it up. She played her best game tonight. She had been struggling hitting, and tonight she was on fire. Cat Rome always comes out strong hitting. She made a few errors that she doesn't usually make," Leonard said.

As the season wears on, Leonard wants to keep the team's focus on the bigger picture, beyond simply winning a district title. The ultimate goal remains winning a championship at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

"The focus is always on winning district, which is great, but we have to change the mindset. Beating St. John is not as big of a deal when you compare it to the playoffs and going further after district. I want more than that. I don't want them to be satisfied winning district. We want to go to the Pontchartrain Center and compete with the big dogs. I want their mindset to change and not settle for less."