Addison Benefield slammed home a kill, and moments later there were tears of joy following Thursday night’s Division I playoff matchup between Benefield’s Destrehan Wildcats and visiting Terrebonne, as DHS moves on to round two after a 25-8, 23-25,25-22 and 25-22 victory.
The senior hitter’s kill officially spurred No. 15 seed Destrehan on to round two, where it will play No. 2 seeded Mount Carmel on Saturday. Match time is 11 a.m. at MCA,
“We really wanted this game,” said Benefield. “We knew we were seeded higher, but we also knew what they were capable of. We knew they’d come out strong, and I think we used that to push ourselves to get the win.”
Junior Ryley Boyne called the win bittersweet, but with a lot more emphasis on the sweet part.
“It feels awesome, but also sad at the same time, because this was our last home game,” Boyne said. “But we came out and did what we needed to do.”’
Were Destrehan (21-6) to upset MCA in round two, it would qualify for the state volleyball tournament, thus win or lose, Thursday represented the final home game for DHS.
Boyne led all hitters with 24 kills. Benefield added 19 of her own. Alyssa Vicknair made 26 assists and Skylar Defrisco made 21. Chloe Schexnaydre led defensively with 18 digs.
Nyla Stokes had 17 digs for Terrebonne, the No. 18 seed in Division I. Alysia Miller had 24 assists and 15 digs. Bourgeois had seven kills and four blocks and Taylor had eight kills and four blocks.
DHS’ last playoff win came in 2018, on the road at Acadiana. Thursday’s match was Destrehan’s first home playoff match since 2013.
Destrehan began the match with a purpose, and quickly put away Terrebonne in the opening set. The Tigers rallied in a big way in the second set, however, and got its defense cranked up – a part of the team Destrehan head coach Edward Borgstede called Terrebonne’s biggest strength before the game. Terrebonne took a 16-15 lead and mostly stayed ahead, ultimately pulling the match into 1-1 tie after a Destrehan violation at the net became the clinching point.
DHS regrouped and scored five of the first six points in set 3. Kills by Madison Washington and Isabell Bourgeois helped keep the Tigers close early, as well as a block by Tre’Nae Taylor.
“I knew when I had (Taylor and Washington) up there, , we had a chance to get our hands on it … we had to try to stop their big hitters,” said Terrebonne coach Craig Hamner. “We fought and kept at it, but made some mistakes late that cost us.”
“They had a really good block,” Boyne said. “But we knew where the holes were and stuck to the plan.”
Back to back kills by Benefield gave Destrehan a five-point cushion. Destrehan opened things up and went ahead 18-10 at one point, but Terrebonne scratched its way back in and pulled within two, 24-22, late before a Tigers serve went long to clinch a two games to one lead for DHS.
The fourth game was back and forth for the entirety. Terrebonne, determined to keep its season alive, got a big performance by Taylor in the set, and a pair of kills midway through tied things at 16. Skylar Defrisco got to the serving line after a Boyne kill put DHS ahead 17-16 – Defrisco served three consecutive aces to put DHS ahead 20-16, the largest lead for either team to that point in the set.
Terrebonne drew within two after a kill and block by Bourgeois on back to back plays. Enaya Kimble earned a kill for Destrehan to make it 23-20. Benefield closed things out, earning DHS’s final two points on kills of her own.
Borgstede this team has made a habit of securing its goals.
“The district championship was a goal. So was getting a top 16 seed and getting to host a match for a change instead of going on the road,” Borgstede said. “The will and the fight they have makes it so fun to be around.”
Borgstede said as strong as the team started, the Wildcats went ice cold in game two, but didn’t let that linger on thereafter.
“It shows their character and how we came back from playing so poorly to finish strong,” Borgstede said. “Yesterday, the takeaway for us was we didn’t want that to be our last practice. Well, that was up to them, and they proved up to the challenge.”
Next up is a Mount Carmel (20-5) team that defeated Destrehan earlier this season, 25-15, 25-14, 25-12. Olivia Stant led the Cubs in that one, with 14 kills, seven blocks and three digs, but several players star for a veteran, balanced MCA squad that swept Denham Springs in round one, 25-9, 25-5, 25-8.
Borgstede said it will be a huge challenge to take on one of the state’s elite programs, a contender year in and year out.
“We know they’re a monster,” Borgstede said. “The last time out, we weren’t intimidated. They were just a tier higher than us. They made the plays that we have to make.”