Berwick knocks off West Feliciana

Berwick’s Abigail Askew fires a shot at the West Felician defense during the squads’ first-round matchup in Berwick Thursday. Askew had nine kills in the Lady Panthers’ 3-0 win. Backing up Askew on the play are Rennen Delatte,
Diana Grace Guarisco and Ashton Morales.

By GEOFF STOUTE

BERWICK — Berwick feasted on West Feliciana errors en route to a 3-0 victory (25-15, 25-13, 25-11) Wednesday in Division 3 first-round playoff action.


While the Lady Panthers, the No. 11 seed, did a lot right in the contest, they also benefitted greatly from West Feliciana errors — first hitting and then later many blocking errors.


“We got to take advantage,” Berwick coach Heather Blanchard said of the errors. “Volleyball’s a mental game. If they give you errors, then you got to go for it. We like to create chaos out there, and that’s what we did tonight.”


While West Feliciana coach Celeste Thornhill said she thought her squad played “fairly well” but that they just tried too hard to stop Berwick’s top offensive threat, University of Louisiana at Lafayette commit Brie Hill.


“We dug up a lot of (Brie Hill’s) hits,” Thornhill said. “She’s a strong player, smart player and we did a good job defensively on her. But at the net, I think they were trying really hard to try to shut her down and try to block her so with that  came hitting errors, blocking errors and frustration. Some of it’s just we had some young players up there.”


Hill had one ace, 14 kills, three blocks, one assist and 11 digs.


In the contest, Blanchard said the Lady Panthers’ serve-receive was “amazing.”


Berwick (20-16) also missed just two serves during the entire contest, one each in the first and second games.


“We’ve been talking in practice about eliminating our mistakes and that’s big for us not to give up many missed serves,” she said.


In game 1, the contest was nip-and-tuck as the Saints, the No. 22 seed, and Lady Panthers traded points with either team taking no more than a two-point advantage early on.


Near the midway point of set, though, Berwick began to pull away following a 16-5 run to put the contest away.


Hill and Abigail Askew fueled the Lady Panthers’ run with kills, while West Feliciana hitting errors also helped.


Askew closed game 1 with a kill.


In game 2, Berwick used a 17-6 run to break an early tie, again using the net play of Hill and especially Askew in the set to take the game, while again, they utilized West Feliciana errors as the Panthers took game 2, 25-13.


Askew finished the match with nine kills.


In Game 3, Berwick broke the game open, using four straight West Feliciana errors, followed by an ace by Maddie Gray and later used the net play of Hill as well as kills by Diana Grace Guarisco and Askew to help them continue to gain separation on the way to a 25-11 win.


“I felt like we fought hard. They never gave up,” Thornhill said. “They kept fighting, trying to dig up balls but just really and truly that’s what got us is our net and hitting errors.”


Other top contributors in Wednesday’s match included Guarisco, three kills, one assist and six digs; Ashton Morales, five kills, 19 assists and seven digs; Hannah Carpenter, one ace and nine kills; and Rennen Delatte, seven digs.


Berwick now will turn its attention to No. 6 St. Louis, who the Lady Panthers will travel to face in a 5:30 p.m. match Monday.


“There are little things we got to fix for the next game, but I’m really happy,” Blanchard said.

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