The Hahnville Lady Tigers are amped up to get back on the volleyball floor – and that appears to be just around the corner.
Tigers head coach Mendi LeBoeuf said Monday that schools have been informed by the LHSAA that on Sept. 8, volleyball will be permitted to begin its regular season even as Louisiana remains in Phase II of reopening. There is a caveat: until the state moves into Phase III, things will be limited to 12 members of each team and essential personnel among coaches and officials, meaning most gameday action could be limited to varsity only. A move into Phase III would expand the number of those allotted in the gym to 50.
But no matter how it ultimately kicks off, this much is known: there will be live, competitive volleyball, and a hungry group of Tigers are ready to eat.
“I know I’m excited and our players are excited just to have the opportunity to get in the gym and play,” LeBoeuf said. “As things keep opening up, we’ll expand what we’re doing, but right now we’re eager to get out there and play anyone besides ourselves.”
The early schedule could be day-to-day, as with the restrictions in place coaches still needed to communicate final plans with one another, LeBoeuf said. As of press time, Hahnville was scheduled to host St. Charles Catholic on Sept. 8 and then Lutcher a day later.
When the Tigers do take the floor, the team will be very different from the 2019 Tigers, which lost eight seniors from its rotation after going 19-19 and returning to the playoffs last season.
The most experienced returning player is middle blocker Trista Naquin, a senior who saw significant playing time in last year’s tight playoff matchup with district rival H.L. Bourgeois. Karlie Dufrene and Colby Mayeux join her at the net. Defensively, Sara Roussel and Sandy Bourgeois will both see time at libero and defensive specialist. Alaina Bergeron will start as the setter.
“The lineup is basically brand new, because everyone who started last season was a senior,” LeBoeuf said. “A lot of the kids were playing club ball and unfortunately, didn’t get to finish their season because of COVID. But we aren’t in a situation where we have no experience at all. The kids work hard and they’re ready.”
Defense has historically been a Tigers’ strong suit, and LeBoeuf sees that as the case again, calling the incoming group very defensive minded.
She doesn’t see the pandemic restrictions as something that significantly hindered the varsity from gaining chemistry together. At the same time, it’s kept the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams separated, which has been a notable difference this season that’s taken getting used to – “We have Zoom meetings, but we have some kids who haven’t had a chance to talk to one another in person,” LeBoeuf said.
But ultimately, a chance to hit the court this season, one that wasn’t promised, is just around the corner.
“We still have to figure some things out with the schedule, but as far as significant games, I think they all are at this point,” LeBoeuf said. “I think everybody just wants to play, no matter what team is on the other side. We all want to get out there.”