East Ascension at Denham Springs volleyball Shelby Prest

Denham Springs' Shelby Prest (17) tosses the ball during a serve.

DENHAM SPRINGS -- It was almost a dramatic, upset win that would’ve surely been a defining moment for Denham Springs High’s often erratic 2017 campaign.

As quickly as that hope came, it vanished.

The Lady Jackets had their chance to take an early lead against an East Ascension team that’s only lost four matches this season, but ultimately found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 sweep on Wednesday.

“I honestly thought we were going to take them to five (sets), I really did,” DSHS captain Shelby Prest said. “Midway through the first set, I was thinking that we could carry the energy and momentum that we had into the next set for sure.”

After a strong showing through much of the first set, the Lady Spartans (22-4, 5-0 Division I, District 4) rallied to hand Denham (14-17, 1-4) a 25-19 loss in the first set, despite stellar defense from Peyton Watson and Dallis Jones for the majority of the match.

Failing to capitalize on the early momentum shift, the Lady Jackets struggled to keep up the offensive groove they established in the first set but lost in the second. Anchored by Daisha Mosley, Diamond Jones and Truli Joseph offensively, the Lady Spartans forced their way to a 25-13 win in the second set, capitalizing on multiple mishits and mistakes by DSHS.

East Ascension at Denham Springs volleyball Foster Brown Joseph

Denham Springs' Alena Foster (9) hits the ball into an East Ascension double block of Londyn Brown (4) and Truli Joseph (18).

Down 2-0, Prest and Hannah Guidry rose to the challenge of mounting a comeback. Prest took control of the offense early in the third set but found herself facing an uphill battle after inconsistent defensive play forced her squad to play from behind. Still, if only for a minute, the momentum seemed to swing into the Lady Jackets’ favor when they quickly scored four unanswered points, but struggled to maintain that momentum and dropped set 25-19.

With only three seniors, the Lady Spartans have relied heavily on the performances of underclassmen on their way to a nearly-perfect season to date, with sophomores Joseph, Mosley and Londyn Brown all cracking the starting lineup. While Denham coach Pam Dubuy has had a little more to work with on the Lady Jackets’ roster, one freshman has been a mainstay in the starting rotation throughout the season: Kailey Dunham.

“She came in really shy,” Prest said of the lone contributing freshman. “But she’s really opened over the last few months. She takes information so well, and that’s really helped grow as a player.”

The Lady Jackets square off against Ponchatoula at home at 6 p.m. Monday.

East Ascension at Denham Springs volleyball Bishop Mayo

Denham Springs' Samantha Bishop (5) locks in to dig the ball as Syndi Mayo (31) watches.

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