The girls are learning something. Coach Rene Gomez is teaching something, and Lafayette Christian is starting to play some winning volleyball.
It was as clear as the 3-0 region sweep for the Lady Cougars over Hearts Academy on Thursday night at Lafayette Christian. The winning Lady Cougars recorded more than 50 aces in the West Region blowout.
“We were passing a little better. Our hitters were playing with authority, and we were pounding the ball. We are really, really young, but we played with a little confidence. And we need confidence in every game,” said Gomez.
The Lady Cougars had more than confidence in this volleyball match. Lafayette Christian was getting spikes, kills, assists and aces from hither to yonder. And from Christine Vedrene to Kaitlyn Tucker, to junior setter Abbey Hudson, to Emily Stringham, to junior middle blocker Olivia Hanners and to the always focused Emily Wyzykowski.
This was a team rout and a Lady Cougar finished product. Lafayette Christian pretty much did it all. The Lady Cougars dominated from the first game to the last set. They won in style. Rolling off the assembly line for LCS was winning scores of 25-4, 25-5 and 25-9.
The Lady Cougars had the broom, and they were sweeping.
“We hustled a lot. We’re getting good, and we’re playing with energy. We have been practicing a lot,” said Hudson.
She served the Lady Cougars to an instant 3-0 lead in the first set. From there, Vedrene hit some aces of her own. Lafayette Christian had a 10-1 lead and then a 14-1 advantage. When Hearts Academy did score it was almost by accident.
“We have a brand new team, and we have beginning skills. Lafayette has more advanced players,” said Lady Panthers head coach Jessica Wilcox.
Hearts Academy is 0 for the season. The Lady Panthers have an 0-9 record. By contrast, Lafayette Christian is 5-9 overall and 3-6 in the region. The Lady Cougars beat Hearts Academy to the punch and to the court. Lafayette Christian outquicked the Lady Panthers.
The Hearts Academy girls looked like they were playing in cement shoes. The Lady Cougars were shooting the ball past Hearts Academy, left and right. Vedrene, the junior outside hitter for LCS, had 13 aces in the match. Tucker, another 11th-grader, was playing with a swift kick, too, with 10 aces and four kills.
The Lady Panthers did not lead all night, not in the first game, the second set or the third game. Stringham hit four straight aces for the Lady Cougars to begin the second set. In time and along the way, LCS banged out an 8-1 lead, eventually becoming 11-1. Tucker would come back with a kill for a Lafayette Christian lead of 14-2.
Vedrene had another ace for the Lady Cougars for their 15th point in the second game. Tucker took a turn or two from the back line as well, scoring two more aces. The Lady Cougars were serving up some blazing hot volleyball.
Tucker showed some finishing power, too, in the third set. Tucker was notching some aces for the Lady Cougars. Tucker gave Lafayette Christian a 16-7 lead after another ace.
“We were getting some momentum and getting excited. We were working together,” said Tucker.
The Lady Cougars also got some aces to close out the match with some third-set magic from junior middle blocker Emily Wyzykowski. She was smiling and scoring. And the Lady Cougars were winning another region match.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer