High school volleyball: Airline hosts Ruston Tuesday with district title on line

937

The Airline Lady Vikings host the Ruston Lady Bearcats Tuesday at 5 p.m. with the District 1-I championship on the line.

Airline is 19-12 overall and 6-0 in district. Ruston is 24-7 and 6-0. Each has two district matches left, including Tuesday’s. Natchitoches Central (17-14, 5-2) is in third.

The winner will clinch at least a share of the district title. While the district race could still end in a tie, both teams will be heavily favored to win their final district matches.

Ruston defeated Airline 26-24, 25-14, 25-20 on Oct. 7 in Ruston. But that was designated a non-district match. With nine teams in the district this season, coaches decided not to have a home-and-home district schedule as in past seasons. It would’ve left little room to schedule out-of-district matches and tournaments.

Airline and Ruston split their district matches last season and shared the championship at 11-1. The Lady Bearcats won the title in 2017 and the Lady Vikings won it in 2016.

Both teams will be looking to improve their Division I power rankings. Ruston was No. 12 and Airline No. 15 in unofficial rankings posted on the LHSAA website Tuesday. The top 16 teams in the final rankings host first-round playoff matches.

Elsewhere, the Haughton Lady Bucs fell to Evangel Christian in four sets Monday at Evangel. The Lady Eagles won the first set 25-16. The Lady Bucs evened the match with a 26-24 victory in the second.

But Evangel took the third 25-17 and fourth 25-19.

Haughton (10-12) resumes District 1-II play against Huntington at home Tuesday. The Lady Bucs have clinched a share of their third straight title and can win it outright with a victory over the Lady Raiders.

Haughton is not only looking to run the table in the district for the second year in a row. The Lady Bucs’ goal is to to do it without losing a set.

Arielle Emanuel led Haughton against Evangel with 10 kills. With every kill, she sets a school single-season record and now has 161.

Emanuel also had three aces and two digs.

Mia McWilliams had a team-high 18 assists along with five aces, three kills and two digs.

Sierra Lingo led the team in digs with 17. Jaycie Keith had eight kills and four digs.

Averi Phillips had 10 assists, three digs, two aces and one kill. Catherine Hudson had four digs, three aces and one kill. Taralyn Sweeney had four kills, one block and one dig.

Abigail Pruett had three digs, one ace and one kill. Adrienne Vickers had two kills and one block. Reagan Jorstad had two kills and one ace.

In another District 1-I match Tuesday, Benton (4-12, 1-5) hosts Byrd.

NOTE: Game statistics provided by coaches.