Fired-up Ursuline volleyball team sweeps Ben Franklin

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Jessica Addvensky is known as an emotional player. The Ursuline senior delivers precise, cutting kills on the court, and

Jessica Addvensky is known as an emotional player. The Ursuline senior delivers precise, cutting kills on the court, and then follows up with an equally loud and enthusiastic post-point celebration.

Her energy, even from the sideline, in an early-season, nondistrict match, is palpable from the stands.

Toward the end of a Tuesday night victory against Ben Franklin at home, the McNeese State commitment was the lone player on the bench holding up one finger — symbolizing the last point to go for the win — until the final whistle.

Addvensky delivered 16 kills in the Lions’ 25-20, 25-19, 25-19 victory against the Falcons, helping Ursuline preserve an undefeated record.

“I’m very emotional with this game, and super-excited,” Addvensky said. “It’s my last year, so I’m going to make it my all, give 150 percent the whole entire time.”

Save for a couple of short Franklin runs, the Lions (6-0) were in control for much of the night, ceding no more than a three-point lead to the Falcons during any set.

The transition game worked well for Ursuline, coach Jay Jay Juan said, and focuses of the night were controlling the tempo, serving the ball tough and controlling the perimeter net.

“It’s early, and every team is different and develops its own personality,” Juan said of this season's roster. “We’re working on being able to control the tempo, and attack any ball — don’t let the ball play you, play the ball.”

Ursuline pulled ahead in the first set toward the end, after a long rally won by a deep hit from Logan Turner put the Falcons (5-4) within three points.

But the next Franklin serve hit the net, and Addvensky capped off the run with a shallow return that tipped right over the net and out of the Falcons reach.

The second set was determined by a 13-6 run from Ursuline in the middle of the action, and the final two points of that set were earned off out-of-bounds Franklin shots. The Lions cruised by the last set, and maintained a six-point lead in the waning moments of the third set.

“We started off strong, and I’m proud of the way that we played, but there’s a lot of work to do,” Falcons coach Jodee Pulizzano said. “We’re young and inexperienced, and it showed. We let them go on too many runs.”

Xian Porter had nine kills for the Falcons. Nora Leigh Downs had 24 assists, and Isabella Grisoli added 25 digs.

“We’re a scrappy little team,” Downs said. “Inexperienced, of course, but underestimated.”

Some of her favorite moments of the night were seeing Clarke Taylor run for long balls at the end of tense, drawn-out rallies as the game progressed. Taylor's energy, though it didn't always result in a point, helped boost morale.

“Those were the best moments of the game,” Downs said. “Even though we didn’t get the point, they helped us a lot.”

Mykah Brown had three aces for the Lions. Macie Grubbs added 18 digs and Nadia Farley had 12 kills.

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