Curtis Volleyball Team Opens Season with 3-1 win over Dominican
By Andrew Valenti, NOLA.com l The Times-Picayune
on September 01, 2015 9:10 PM, updated September 01, 2015 10:22 PM
Curtis suffered a disappointing finish in 2014 as the No. 3 seed in the Division IV playoffs, losing to eventual state runner-up Newman in the quarterfinals. Tuesday’s road match againstDominican, the third-ranked squad in NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune’s Large Schools preseason volleyball rankings, offered the Patriots a stern test to open the season.
If that wasn’t enough, Curtis had to break in a new-look lineup after losing standouts Tatiana Bell and Carsyn Wallow to graduation.
The Patriots survived their first early-season exam and jumped out to an early two-set lead then withstood a Dominican rally to go on and win in four sets 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, 25-21.
“This was our first match,” Patriots coach Dawn Curtis said. “We don’t ever take Dominican lightly. They’re always a good team and very scrappy. They started digging us and started finding holes in our defense.”
Hannah McGowan pounded a kill to give Dominican (0-1) a 4-2 lead in the fourth set. Curtis (1-0) responded to the early deficit and rallied to take an 8-7 lead. The two teams battled back and forth for much of the game, as there were eight ties and four lead changes.
Dominican tied the score at 21 after a Curtis shot flew wide right, and Curtis called a timeout. The Patriots proceeded to reel off four-straight points to close out the match, highlighted by a kill by Sarah Drake and a block by Jayla Thomas.
Drake paced the Curtis offensive attack with 18 kills to go along with two blocks. Layne Estes added 10 kills, and Kelsie Oestriecher chipped in five kills and scooped nine digs. Reaghan Fabacher dished out 18 assists, and Rylee Fabacher had 15 assists.
For Dominican, McGowan notched 12 kills; and Abby Buchert notched seven kills. Erin Malone had 19 digs, and Katie Mouton led the team with 23 assists. Adelia Obioha added three blocks.
Having to fill the voids left by Bell and Wallow, Drake said these early-season tests are critical for her team.
“We have a lot of younger middle players,” she said. “They kind of all rotate, but they all really work hard because they all want to earn their spot and show that they can do it and be point scorers in the game which really helps.”
Dominican led Curtis 8-5 in the third set after falling behind by two sets. The Patriots reeled of three-straight points to knot the score at eight, but Dominican responded and continued to swell its lead throughout the set. McGowan, a sophomore, finished off the set with a kill.
Curtis and Dominican battled close in the first two sets, but the Patriots kept a slight advantage throughout before pulling away late.
“It’s early,” Dominican coach Jessica Chatellier said. “We’re trying to find a rhythm right now. We’re young, and I just think my players need to figure it out. They have some great strengths and some moments of brilliance. They just have to put it together for a match.”