Area teams set to tip off volleyball seasons


H.L. Bourgeois' Shannon Jones (5) and Assumption's Erineka Mollere (4) will try to lead their teams back to the state playoffs. (Photo by File photos)


Kelly McElroy and Teddy Renois

Sports Writers

Last season, nine area high school volleyball teams qualified for respective postseasons, with five making the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

Terrebonne, H.L. Bourgeois, South Terrebonne, Assumption, Ellender, E.D. White Catholic, Vandebilt Catholic, Houma Christian and Covenant Christian Academy all made the playoffs, and Terrebonne, Assumption, E.D. White, Vandebilt and Houma Christian all made the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner where the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in each class are played.

In addition, Covenant Christian Academy won the Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association title and will compete in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association this season.

The following are preview capsules for all area high school volleyball teams heading into the 2012 regular season:

DISTRICT 5-I

CENTRAL LAFOURCHE LADY TROJANS

Head coach: Brandy Wiley

2011 record: 12-21

2011 playoffs: Did not qualify

Key players: Sloane Robicheaux, Sloane Ledet, Kourtney LeBlanc, Kourtney Landry and Emily Duet.

What they're saying: "As we've said before, this is a rebuilding year. We have only one senior and one returning varsity player, so it is a rebuilding year, but the girls are coming around. Sloane Robicheaux is our middle and is our only senior. Sloane Ledet is our only setter. She's a junior and a first-time player on varsity. Kourtney LeBlanc is a 10th-grader and she's coming in as an outside (player) and has a lot of potential, and Emily Duet has been a good defensive player for us." — Coach Wiley on it being a rebuilding year.

H.L. BOURGEOIS LADY BRAVES

Head coach: Peter Verret III

2011 record: 22-18

2011 playoffs: Lost to Mt. Carmel in Division I regionals (second round).

Key players: Shannon Jones, Meghan Stevens, Raven Scott, Tatyana Russ, Jamie Verret and Brenna Copes.

What they're saying: "We have a good team this year. We just have to continue to push and not be complacent. We need to push to better every match, every practice, so I think we can maybe be in the hunt. We are very spread out. We have a lot of talent in a lot of areas. We are excited. After all these years, I've got the goose bumps ready to go." — Coach Verret on this year's team.

TERREBONNE LADY TIGERS

Head coach: Craig Hamner

2011 record: 35-11

2011 playoffs: Lost to Mt. Carmel in Division I quarterfinals.

Key players: Jackie Daigle, Darian Dees, Kellie Scoby, Brittney Gros, CeCe Hazard, Loretta Maddox, Courtney Guidroz and Kasie Ordoyne.

What they're saying: "We have a lot of returning players from last year, and we have a lot of holes to fill. It will be a learning process. Everyone on varsity will have to have a role and they will all have to be very good at what we do for us to compete for a district title. We are not very tall so we are going to have to be a scrappy, defensive team. We have to serve-receive well and keep the ball in play. We are going to be a little different than Terrebonne has been in the past. We have a lot of good hitters, but we don't have a lot of big hitters. It is going to be a lot of work, but we are going to have to be quicker and more athletic." — Coach Hamner on this year's team.

THIBODAUX LADY TIGERS

Head coach: Heather McBroom

2011 record: 11-26

2011 playoffs: Did not qualify

Key players: Sadie Daigle, Kayla Bland, Eris Stove, Kiarra Triggs and Chelise Brown.

What they're saying: "Last year, we didn't make the playoffs, and that's a big thing for me. I want to see us make the playoffs and maybe possibly a playoff win. That's something our team hasn't done in many years, so that's kind of a goal for us this year."— McBroom on trying to get back to the state playoffs after a one-year absence.

 

DISTRICT 6-II

ASSUMPTION LADY MUSTANGS

Head coach: Sandy Fussell

2011 record: 26-15

2011 playoffs: Lost in Division II state semifinal match to St. Thomas More.

Key players: Erineka Mollere, Bailey Daigle and Kevreion Ward.

What they're saying: "Our offensive has gotten a lot quicker, and (Thursday's) game is a lot quicker than it used to be. Our defense will be strong to where we can get the ball up front to Bailey's hands and let her run the offense. I think we need to work extremely hard on blocking. That has to be a defensive force for us. In a quick offense, it is hard to figure out when to trigger the block, but that comes with experience. We hope to get better at it as we play match after match." —Coach Fussell said on this year's team.

ELLENDER LADY PATRIOTS

Head coach: Beth Guidry

2011 record: 13-21

2011 playoffs: Lost to Lutcher in Division II bi-district (first round) match.

Key players: Shelbi Moore, Tangie Jones, Kristera Gauthreaux, Elgiana Green, Alyssa Bush.

What they're saying: "We have some things we still need to tweak and clean up, and I am looking from some leadership from our seniors. We are not as big as we were last year, so communication will be a big thing for us this year. I lost my defensive specialist so I am working with a whole new defensive lineup. If they can come together and communicate well, and know they have to hit the floor and fight sometimes, I think we will be good." — Guidry on this year's team.

SOUTH LAFOURCHE LADY TARPONS

Head coach: Lonnie Rousse

2011 record: 8-13

2011 playoffs: Did not qualify

Key players: Christa Molinaire, Miranda Callais, Blake Foret, Kara Laird and Kasey Zeringue.

What they're saying: "We have a team that's got potential as long as they remember they've got to play as a cohesive unit. We have really none that are standout superstars, so they know they've got to play as a team. I think we should do fairly well in district this year. Last year we had hype, this year we have tenacity." — Coach Rousse on his team's playoff chances.

SOUTH TERREBONNE LADY GATORS

Head coach: Philip Walther

2011 record: 11-20

2011 playoffs: Lost to Broadmoor in Division II bi-district (first round) match.

Key players: Taylor Dupre, Blare Pellegrin, Julia LeBlanc, Sarah Lebouef, Courtney Clement and Katelyn Blanchard.

What they're saying: "We just need to pick up our speed and our communication. If we can do that, we are going to really do something this year. We have a lot of strength on the net. If the girls can make each other better and force each other to be better, we are going to be fine. We have a lot of strength and a lot of skill and our varsity has a lot of seniority. They should be ready to go. We have a lot of skill back. We just need to make sure we mesh." — Walther on this year's team.

 

DISTRICT 5-III

E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC  LADY CARDINALS

Head coach: Mary Cavell

2011 record: 16-18

2011 playoffs: Lost in Division III quarterfinals match to Parkview Baptist.

Key players: Madison Rodrigue, Emily Weimer, Aimee Brien and Claire Chiasson.

What they're saying: "I can say (our strength) is our teamwork. We don't get down on each other and they just have to keep that consistent play. If things don't go well, they know they can change the momentum and make things go well. For us, we are looking at one match at a time and have consistent play. We have a good nucleus back, but we are still young but talented. We have good depth and I like our bonding and we are looking forward to a good season." — Coach Cavell said on this year's team.

VANDEBILT CATHOLIC LADY TERRIERS

Head coach: Latashia Wise

2011 record: 34-10

2011 playoffs: Lost to St. Louis Catholic in Division II semifinals.

Key players: Sydney Lerille, Kristin Kurtz, Maggie Hamilton, Erin Crane, Anna Rhodes and Melani Sanvi.

What they're saying: "We are battling some injuries. We have Sydney Lerille, she's out, our district MVP from last year, and Kristin Kurtz, another all-district player, but think some of the younger girls are definitely stepping up and have gained some experience. We still have some stuff we have to work on, but give us to the middle of September, and we will be fine and ready to go. We are like gumbo. We have a lot of stuff to put in the pot. It's just not ready yet. We have everything we need. It will be all about chemistry." — Wise on this year's team.

 

DISTRICT 4-IV

ST. JAMES LADY WILDCATS

Head coach: Chetwin Carter

2011 record: 6-13

2011 playoffs: Lost in the Division IV first-round match to Northlake Christian.

Key player: Kaitlyn Bartholomew

What they're saying: Not available

 

DISTRICT 5-V

COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY LADY LIONS

Head coach: Ashley Kesterson

2011 record: 16-2

2011 playoffs: Won Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association Championship with 2-1 victory over CHA-Northeast. (Not eligible for district title, district honors or postseason play this season).

Key players: Naomi Trujillo, Moriah Trujillo, Gabby McCorkel, Taylor Bourgeois and Kelsey Bourg.

What they're saying: "We have some work to do. We have very few returning players. We are on a one-year probation for entering the LHSAA therefore I am going to take this opportunity to use younger players and prepare them for the future. We know what is ahead of us in the coming years and right now that is our concern. We want to use our games as learning experiences this year and focus on fundamentals and understanding the game. Many of my players have never played, so I am literally introducing volleyball to much of the team for the first time. They are eager, and so am I. I like a challenge, and I am dedicated to building this school's volleyball program from the bottom up." — Kesterson on this year's team.

HOUMA CHRISTIAN LADY WARRIORS

Head coach: Patricia Carlos

2011 record: 29-10

2011 playoffs: Lost to Westminster Christian in Division V quarterfinals.

Key player: Lindsay Crowdus.

What they're saying: "A lot of these girls are seventh and eighth graders playing on a junior-varsity, varsity level. They are doing an amazing job. We have to learn the game of volleyball because we have a lot of first-year players. We are down to basics learning how to pass, learning how to set, learning how to serve, so we are doing that. They are having a good time. They have their priorities straight. They are representing Houma Christian and the Christian faith and they are doing a great job." — Lady Warriors assistant coach TeAna Tramel on this year's team.

—Sports Correspondent Steve Holley contributed to this story.