Tigers eye bright future

November 08 at 10:06 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Bailey Roux and Hahnville reached the second round of the postseason.
Bailey Roux and Hahnville reached the second round of the postseason.
After having to replace all but one starter from last seasonís district champion Hahnville volleyball squad, one might have forgiven the team if it took a step back this season.

But although the team didn’t repeat as its district winner, a very young Tigers team found plenty of success in 2017, going 24-16 and, like last season, reaching the second round of the playoffs.

Hahnville was seeded 18th in Division I and embarked on a long road trip for its first round match, where it nailed down an upset victory by besting host Ruston 26-24, 25-9 and 29-27.

The Tigers advanced to round two to face No. 2 seed St. Joseph’s Academy. A St. Joseph’s sweep by scores of 25-11, 25-15 and 25-13 spelled the end of Hahnville’s season, but HHS coach Mendi LeBoeuf sees plenty to be excited about when it comes to her program.

“We’re really excited about the season we had,” LeBoeuf said. “It was a different kind of playoff season for us. Last year, we had a lot of seniors on the court. This year, we had a lot of sophomores on the court. So for us to go out and get a first round win, on the road after a pretty long bus ride, we’re super excited about our kids being focused and playing well in that environment.”

LeBoeuf said that the loss at St. Joseph’s was a matter of running into a better opponent, but that while it ended Hahnville’s season, it was still a valuable experience.

“I thought it was a great chance for our younger players to face a very talented, high-ranked team. We kept working hard and never quit, but they’re ranked No. 2 for a reason,” she said.

The first round win, meanwhile, saw the Tigers show considerable grit and determination in closing out close wins in the opening and closing games of the set, both of which went into extended points.

“That first game really caused us to be so focused on every touch, and we went on to run away with the second game,” LeBoeuf said. “I think it really calmed our nerves. We were down by six or seven at the beginning of game one, and our young players looked really nervous. But once we closed the game, we settled down.”

Key for the Tigers is that five of the team’s six starters return next season. Each of them is a sophomore.

“The best part is we get to hold onto those kids and they’ll get better and better for the next two years,” LeBoeuf said.

View other articles written Ryan Arena

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