GALLIANO – On the match’s final play, South Lafourche’s Claire Chiasson leaped into the air and looked ready to deliver a high velocity almost vertical kill to give the Lady Tarpons the win.
Instead, she softly flicked the ball with the back of her right hand, sending it down slowly into a gap left by Landry-Walker defenders for a 26-24, 25-11 and 25-22 win in the first-round of the Division II state volleyball playoffs on Thursday.
No. 16 South Lafourche jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, only to watch No. 17 Landry-Walker score ten of the next 11 points for a five-point lead.
The Lady Tarpons (13-18 overall) came back with seven in a row to lead 12-10, including another soft kill from Chiasson, who flustered Landry-Walker defenders all night with the move. Chiasson finished with 23 of her team’s total of 39 kills.
"Claire has the ability to read the court very well," South Lafourche coach Jamie Cantrelle said. "I think she was going up for a kill when she saw the defense and realized that the best move was a little tap. She reads defenses very well."
Landry-Walker made it 12-12, and then the runs were over and the teams would exchange points and two point runs except once, when Landry-Walker scored three in a row.
With the game at 24 all, South Lafourche scored the final two, on a Landry-Walker net violation after a long rally and a bad return for a 26-24 win.
"I think we had a little case of nerves at the beginning of the game," Cantrelle said. "They’ve been working really hard and wanted to play well, but I think a couple of errors at the beginning kind of threw us off. But they were able to pull themselves together and finish that game."
The second set by contrast was a rout. South Lafourche scored the first seven, and then five more for a quick 12-3 lead.
The teams exchanged points until it was 17-10 when the Lady Tarpons scored the last eight for the 14-point win.
"A narrow defeat in the first game can bring you down sometimes," Landry-Walker coach Sheryl Eaglin said. "You need to use that to motivate you, push you forward, and not lay down. And I think we laid down in that second game."
The third set was an exchange of points from the start, with nine lead exchanges and neither team leading by more than three until South Lafourche ended a four point run to make it 21-17. It got to 24-20 before Landry Walker closed to two, and Chiasson closed it out.
"They woke up," Cantrelle said. "We were able to fix our errors in game two. Game three just went back and forth. They took the lead on us, and we were able to get the ball and come back with it. There was a little fatigue at the end of that game. But they stayed focused, got a lot of hustle plays, and made enough plays to push through."
Alissa Cosse had 33 assists for South Lafourche, with Bailey Melancon gathering 31 digs.
The Lady Tarpons will play No. 1 Teurlings Catholic in the second-round of the Division II state playoffs at 10 a.m. Saturday.
THURSDAY’S PREP VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFF MATCHES
DIVISION II FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFFS
NO. 3 ASSUMPTION DEF. NO. 30 WOODLAWN-BATON ROUGE 25-10, 25-11, 25-6
At Napoleonville, Ra’von Robertson had 19 kills, two aces and three digs to lead the Lady Mustangs to their first playoff win this season.
Other leaders were Reagan Alleman (five kills, 25 assists, two digs), Caelin Aucoin (seven kills) and Hannah Landry (11 digs).
Assumption (33-8 overall) will host No. 14 Warren Easton at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Division II second-round playoffs in Napoleonville.
NO. 4 VANDEBILT CATHOLIC DEF. NO. 29 ISTROUMA 25-6, 25-12, 25-8
At Houma, Brittany Theriot had 11 kills and 11 digs to lead the Lady Terriers to the first-round playoff win.
Other leaders for Vandebilt were Madi Benoit (12 aces), Angelle Buquet (22 assists) and Tiffany Boudreaux (11 digs).
The Lady Terriers (31-12 overall) will host No. 20 St. Scholastica at 11 a.m. Saturday in Vandebilt’s upstairs gym in the Division II state second-round playoffs.
LADY BRAVES SECOND-ROUND MATCH SET
In the Division I playoffs, No. 10 H.L. Bourgeois will play No. 7 East Ascension in a second-round playoff match at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gonzales.
The Lady Braves defeated East Ascension in four-games last season in the Division I second round playoffs.
-- Complied by Chris Singleton/Staff Writer