High school volleyball: Haughton makes history with playoff win; Airline, Benton fall in first round

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The Haughton Lady Bucs made school history twice Thursday night. 

The first time was when they stepped on the Billy Montgomery Court at Haughton to play No. 20 seed Helen Cox in the first round of the Division II playoffs. It was the first home playoff match in the program’s six-season history.

The second time was when the No. 13 seed Lady Bucs pulled out a dramatic five-set victory, the first playoff win in school history.

Haughton lost the first set 25-21 and then took a two sets to one lead with 25-21 and 25-20 victories in the second and third. Helen Cox then tied it with a 25-20 win in the fourth.

The Lady Bucs then won the fifth in a 17-15 nailbiter. All told, Haughton won 108 total points to Helen Cox’s 106.

Haughton (12-7) will travel to Houma to face No. 4 seed Vandebilt Catholic (13-9) in the second round Saturday at 3 p.m. The Lady Terriers defeated No. 29 Neville 25-12, 25-18, 25-3 in the first round. Helen Cox, a New Orleans-area school, finished 11-9.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our girls,” Haughton head coach Justin Ginn said. “They battled every point for five sets. We faced and overcame a lot of adversity in that match. I was excited to see our leaders step up when we needed it.”

“It’s a big step for our program to get our first playoff win. I think our girls know how big of a deal that is.

“To think that there was a point that we thought we might not have a season, to getting to host and win our first home playoff match just makes me thankful that our girls got the opportunity to play.”

Haughton battled COVID-19 issues that forced the cancellation and postponement of several regular-season matches.

The news wasn’t as good for the parish’s other two playoff teams.

For the third straight season, No. 13 seed Airline hosted a Division I first-round match. But No. 20 seed Slidell proved to be too strong, ending the Lady Vikings’ season 25-14, 25-20, 25-11.

Airline finished its seventh season of volleyball 16-6. Slidell raised its record to 9-8.

While disappointed with the loss, Airline coach Regina Digilormo was happy her team got to play a full schedule even if the number of games was sharply cut because COVID-19 protocols forced the cancellation of all tournaments.

Like Haughton, Benton made school history this season. The Lady Tigers made the playoffs for the first time in the program’s three-year history.

The No. 32 Lady Tigers put up a good fight against Division I No. 1 seed Dominican, falling 25-7, 25-9, 25-13 in New Orleans.

Benton finished 7-9, including three tough five-set losses down the stretch. Dominican improved to 27-2.

At Haughton, it was a true team effort for the Lady Bucs. 

Mia McWilliams had an outstanding all-around match with 24 assists, eight kills and two aces.

Jaycie Keith led the team with 12 kills. Adrienne Vickers has 11 along with four aces and two blocks.

Sara White had eight kills and a block. Madison Trujillo had 15 assists and two aces. 

Averi Phillips had 11 digs and four aces. Ariana Mathews had six kills. Kaely Bettisworth had three kills. 

At Dominican, Benton’s Daly Nagot had six digs and two kills. Erin Martin had five digs and one ace.

Kaitlyn Masters had three digs and two kills. Gracyn Badiali had one kill, one block and one dig.

Harlie Erickson had three digs and Taylor Walker had two. 

Abby Schroeder had two kills and one block. Danielle Colemon had two blocks and one kill. Macie Nance had one kill.

NOTE: Match statistics provided by coaches.