Lady Pios cruise past Dunham to earn return trip to state tourney

CROWLEY – The Lady Pios coasted past Dunham Monday night at A.B. Dore Gym, winning the second round playoff match in straight sets of 25-5, 25-17, 25-14.

The victory sends the Lady Pios back to the State Volleyball Tournament in Kenner where they will square off with Northlake Christian in a quarterfinal matchup at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“We passed the ball pretty well which let us run some offense and when we do that we have a lot of weapons that allows us to have success,” said ND coach Tara Young. “Hopefully, we’re in full stride heading into the tournament.”

The Lady Pios were as good as opponents have seen in the first set.

Allison Leonards dug the opening serve with a pass to Alex Miller for a set at the middle net that Alaina Savoy blasted to the floor for a kill. Leonards then blocked a Dunham kill attempt over the defense which dropped inside the end line for a point. Savoy put down three straight winners as Notre Dame took a 6-0 lead and was never threatened.

After a net violation gave Dunham a point, the Pios countered by scoring nine straight with Leonards getting three kills, Savoy dropping in three aces and Katherine Kirsch adding a middle kill for a 16-1 lead. Mallory Chiasson dropped in a service ace and Megan Malmay sent a kill down the left sideline to close out game one, 25-5.

As well as things were going in set one was as bad as things looked to start the second set. The Pios gifted Dunham with three straight net serves and fell behind 16-13. Kirsch slammed a short set off the left sideline to break the Tigers serve and wake up the Pios offense.

Notre Dame then scored nine straight points with Marie Ledet pushing a winner to the open floor, Leonards knocking down two monster kills from the left outside and Kirsch getting another winner from the middle.

Miller dropped a soft serve in for an ace and dished up a hard serve that Dunham couldn’t handle to make it 23-16. Dunham got one of their few kills and the Pios got it right back with Kirsch spiking a short set to close out game two, 25-17.

“We’ve been working hard in practice on focusing our game to not give up bunches of points and get ourselves in trouble,” said Young. “It was a good thing that we kind of revisited that to see how we would handle it. I think we showed that when we make a mistake we can get right back to playing our game, which is what we’ve been working for.”

The Pios were definitely back in their game, taking a 12-3 lead in the third set with consistent passing and setting that resulted in kills from Savoy, Miller, Kirsch and Leonards. Dunham made a brief run to close within 14-9, but Young called a timeout and quickly righted the ship.

The Lady Pios returned to the floor and set Malmay on the left outside for a hard kill. Alli Daigle went down to dig the next Dunham kill attempt, Marie Ledet set to the right outside and Savoy slammed a kill home. Savoy then dropped in two more of her game high eight service aces to close out the match.

Savoy added six digs with nine kills to lead the Pios. Leonards recorded eight kills, six digs, an ace and a block. Kirsch finished with seven kills and Ledet totaled 19 assists, three kills, six digs and two aces. Miller added 12 assists, four digs, two aces and a kill.

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