CENTRAL -- Streaky tendencies were the downfall of Denham Springs in Monday’s Summer League Volleyball final against Central.
Denham started the first two championship sets strong, jumping out to 8-5 and 8-2 leads in each set. But both times the Wildcats came roaring back, going on a 17-4 run to close out the first set and a 9-0 run to dig out of a 9-3 deficit in the second.
Both times, the Yellow Jackets were unable to respond until the set was out of reach, falling 25-16 and 25-19.
“That’s something I pointed out to the girls,” Denham Springs coach Pam Dubuy said. “Whenever the other team got a couple of points, you got down and you stayed down. You need to get back up. That was our problem last year a lot too, I noticed I was feeling like it was a repeat of last year. Not that last year was bad, but that’s kind of where we were going. But we were streaking.”
But summer league isn’t solely about the results, and Dubuy saw plenty to be enthused about in her team’s effort Monday night.
“We worked on some different things in practice today and they pulled it out tonight in the game,” Dubuy said. “That kind of made us say ‘Yes! Way to go!’ They hustled a lot. They were more scrappy tonight than the last time we were here … this is huge. It’s teaching the younger girls what to expect coming up and it’s showing me as a coach when and where I can play certain players. It gives me an idea what and who I can work with.”
Central’s presence on the net proved too strong for Denham Springs, and when they got rolling, the Lady Jackets struggled to defend the wave after wave of shots.
Caroline Nunnery was especially effective, having a streak in the second set where she recorded four of Central’s five points with four kills.
“In the past year, she’s found her limbs,” Central coach Michele LeBouef said. “She’s become more coordinated, she’s put on a little more weight and gotten a little bit stronger. She has become kind of a quiet leader and she’s finding her role within this group that is louder and more boisterous.”
Central and Denham Springs received first-round byes. Central defeated Zachary 2-0 while Denham Springs had to fend off Live Oak in three sets.
Denham won the first set 25-19 and dropped the second 23-25 before finally advancing with a 15-10 victory in the rubber set. The first two sets were a back and forth affair, but Denham advanced to the finals in large part due to an 8-0 run in the third set that brought them from down 4-1 to up 9-4.
In the first round, Live Oak edged out Episcopal 2-1 and Walker fell to Zachary 2-0.
The Walker-Zachary series was tightly contested throughout with the Broncos advancing on 25-22 and 25-23 victories. Between the teams, there were 10 runs of 4-0 or greater, and they usually came in alternating fashion.