GLENDORA- The St. Lucy Regents took on their newest rival, La Salle, in a grudge match of all grudge matches. The Regents beat the Lancers in last year's CIF final to capture the ring and bragging rights. A hot La Salle team, coming in off of consecutive tournament wins and with something to prove came into the Regents house in hopes of taking some revenge. The Regents, however, had another plan in mind, defeating the Lancers for the third consecutive time in a grueling 5 set match 28-30, 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12.
The Regents came out in set one playing a little tight and the Lancers came out on fire. La Salle's defense was tenacious and got the Lancers out to a 3 point lead. Juliet McClure served up three consecutive aces to tie the game at 12 and force a La Salle timeout. From that point the teams battled, trading a one and two point lead and playing UNBELIEVABLE defense on both sides of the net. La Salle appeared to be in the driver's seat with Hailey DeSales serving and a 2 point edge at 20-18, but Lucy's got the side out, Arden Davis got the ace and we had a new game, tied at 20. Then the race was on. La Salle got a kill down the line- 21-20. Roni LaPierre tipped the ball over to tie it 21-21. La Salle got a kill tooling the block and went ahead 22-21. LaPierre tipped again to tie it at 22. Sydney Bast came in and gave the Regents the lead with an ace, 23-22 Regents. A service error gave the ball and a tie back to the Lancers. Loryn Carter smashed a kill cross court to give the Regents set point at 24-23. Hailey DeSales responded with a monster kill to tie it at 24. La Salle dug up two balls that Loryn Carter crushed, but could not get to the soft tip. The Regents had another set point, and another service error, sending the match to ties at 26, 27 and 28. La Salle finally got the edge after a highly contested point ended with the ball dropping in the back corner of the Regent's court. The Regents mishandled the serve receive and La Salle closed out set one, 30-28.
Set two began with the teams sparring, trading jabs and points. A solo block by Marissa Hageman gave the slight lead to the Regents at 5-3, which they consolidated with a well executed back court attack from Bast. Hageman and LaPierre paired up for another block and the lead became a three point spread. The Regents maintained a three to four point lead and trailing 12-16, the Lancer's took a minute to talk it over. After the time out, Roni LaPierre served up three aces in a row and the Regents took their defense to an even higher level, forcing La Salle to take another break, this time trailing by eight points, 14-22. La Salle attempted to mount a come back, but a wicked cross court cut by Vanessa Caustrita put the Regents up 24-19. The Regents went on to win set 2 25-20.
Set three was all St. Lucy's. They got out to an early lead, 12-7, and never looked back. Despite solid play on both sides of the net, and more incredible defense, Lucy's coasted to an easy victory, 25-18. At this point, the La Salle Lancers stepped outside of the gym to have a chat. I'm not sure what the coach told them, but whatever it was invigorated the team and they came out in set 4 like wildcats. The Lancers quickly got out to a 12-4 lead, treating the Regents to a Lancer block party. The Regents found themselves down 18-10 before Vanessa Caustrita put a stop to the bleeding with a kill cross court. The Regents seemed to find their focus and began chipping away at the lead. The Regents pulled to within one point, trailing 22-23, with the serve, but sided out. The Lancers took advantage of an overpass on the serve receive and took set 4 with an easy kill.
As some predicted, this match between two very good and very tough teams came down to the fifth set. The Lancers had the momentum going into set five and got started with an ace. Dianna Rohrer and Loryn Carter's dual block awakened the crowd and just like that, the momentum shifted. Both teams played their hearts out and the match was tied at 7, 8, and 9. Vanessa Caustrita got a ball down to send the Regents ahead 11-9, and send the Lancers to the bench for a time out. The Lancers battled back, cutting the lead to one, 12-11 by tipping the ball over on two, and following with an ace serve. The Regents called time out, came back on court, Mo Hagemen crushed the ball on a well executed slide and Lucy's had the lead 13-11 and the ball. Loryn Carter delivered a paralyzing kill down the line to give the Regents match point. The Lancers weren't ready to board the bus just yet and sided out, still hoping to pull out the victory but trailing 14-12. Freshman Loryn Carter, playing well beyond her 13 years (yes, she's 13) got the final kill to end it. St. Lucy's wins 15-12.
This game was hyped up in the press and on social networks and actually lived up to the hype. Don't be surprised if you see these teams matched up again in the post season. St. Lucy's and La Salle are both the real deal!