For the third straight season, Hahnville is moving on to the second round of the Division I state volleyball playoffs.
The Lady Tigers controlled the action for the majority of Thursday night’s opening round sweep of visiting Sulphur by scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-12 and advance to round two, where the No. 12 seeded Tigers will travel to face No. 5 Mandeville at 11 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 3)
“One of our goals was to get further into the playoffs this year,” said junior setter Bailey Roux, who was among the Tigers who started in last season’s first round playoff road upset of Ruston. “We’ve got a lot of confidence and we all motivate one another.”
Roux made 37 assists and five digs to help lead Hahnville (27-14), with Brianna Plaisance leading the hitters she distributed to with 15 kills. Other standouts at the net were Reagan Young (nine kills and two aces), Yelah Moses (eight kills) and Chelsea Plaisance (seven kills, six digs). Kristen Crutti had 11 digs and Kallie Landry added seven to pace the Tigers’ defense.
The Tigers charged out to early leads in each of the three games, but Sulphur created a scare when it rallied all the way back in the opening set to create a tense finish.
Hahnville scored nine of the first 10 points to start the match before Sulphur chipped away with a series of runs. The 21st seeded Golden Tors cut the lead to 11-10, and though Hahnville kept rebuilding small leads, Sulphur (17-12) wouldn’t go away, finally tying things up at 18 through a 6-1 run.
“We avoided making unforced errors to start things, but I think we relaxed a little big midgame,” said Hahnville coach Mendi LeBoeuf.
LeBoeuf called a timeout and Hahnville promptly posted three points to take a 21-18 lead. The teams traded scores before Hahnville hustled to nail down a tough and critical point to make it 23-20. A kill by Sulphur’s Abbi Massey cut the lead to two again, but Young stepped up to slam home back to back kills to end the first game.
“We weren’t striking the ball with consistency when they made that comeback, but we shored that up in the last five or so points,” LeBoeuf said.
Said Roux, “They came back and it was on us to refocus. What’s done was done and we couldn’t do anything about the fact they came back, but we could get back to playing our best to close the game. We all knew we had to take it back.”
It seemed to knock the wind out of Sulphur from there. Hahnville jumped out to a big lead in game two, at one point scoring 10 points in a row (highlighted by four Brianna Plaisance kills) to go up 17-4, and the Tors never challenged thereafter. In the third and final game, Sulphur led 12-11 at one point, but the Tigers then made their move, a Moses tip igniting a run of eight points in a row to effectively put things out of reach.
With just one starter graduating this season, Hahnville will have an experienced core of playoff winners returning next year — though the Tigers aren’t remotely thinking of that yet.
“It definitely feels good,” LeBoeuf said. “A lot of these guys were on the court last year and to do it again, it feels like we’re moving in the right direction. But we’re excited about what we’re doing right now. We’re not ready to quit.”