Dahli Dennis (Sulphur HS)

Sulphur's Dahli Dennis attacks from the left side during the Tors three-set win over Lafayette Tuesday.

The first two sets were close, but junior Dalhi Dennis made sure the third wasn’t as the Sulphur Tor volleyball team beat Lafayette 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 to open the district season.

Dennis had three assists, two blocks, two kills and a season-high three aces in the third set. For the match, Dennis had 12 assists, five kills and three aces.

“That was big for her,” Sulphur head coach Bridget Coppels said. “Serving hasn’t really been the strongest point of her game, but tonight she made a point to prove that she is getting a lot better at it.

“She is mentally and physically getting stronger and I am really proud of Dahli.”

Sulphur pushed its lead in the third set to 10-5 after Dennis and Bridget Trahan were able to block Lafayette’s Breyionce George but the Lions battled back to cut Sulphur’s lead to 11-8. 

Dennis responded with a solo block of George, a powerful kill down the middle and another from the right side. Keelie Seaford (12 assists) set up both of Dennis’ attacks. Dennis then set up Seaford followed by a trio of aces to put Sulphur up 20-9.

It was Sulphur’s second consecutive win over Lafayette and first sweep of the Lions since 2015.

“It was a big win,” Coppels said. “It wasn’t the prettiest win we have ever had, but a win is a win and we are going to take it.”

Sulphur (13-10, 1-0) pushed its current win streak to five matches and has won 11 of its last 13 after starting the season 2-8.

Sulphur trailed by as many as four points in the first set. After two lead changes and four ties, junior outside hitter Cara Murphy served up an ace for an 18-17 lead. Murphy had three kills and a pair of aces in the first set and finished with a match-high 13 kills to go with five aces and five digs.

Sulphur trailed just once in the second set and Lafayette was never far behind. Sulphur used a 5-0 run to build up a 10-5 lead on big hit to the back right corner by Dennis. But the Lions rallied with a 5-0 run of their own to tie the set at 10-10 on an ace by Caroline Melancon.

Reese Grossie led Lafayette (8-13, 0-1) with five kills, Melancon had two kills and a pair of aces and Megan Guidry made 11 assists.

Vega Tower led Sulphur defensively with 11 digs and Trahan made four of Sulphur’s eight blocks.

“We are a very strong blocking team,” Coppels said. “It is something that we work on every single day in practice.

“My kids want to block you and they do a good job of that.”