To call 2018 a banner year for Hahnville tennis would be an understatement.
Led by a sensational state finalist in Armand Godard and boasting talent up and down its roster, the Tiger boys earned a district championship on the way to a perfect regular season, went 16-0 in the regular season, as regional runner up and the fourth ranked finisher at the LHSAA Division I state championship tournament in Monroe, the highest finish in school history.
The Lady Tigers, meanwhile, were accomplished in their own right, finishing the regular season 10-6 and tied for second in district play before capturing third place at the Division I Region III tournament.
Godard, a junior, made the farthest individual run at the state tournament in school history by reaching the Division I final. That followed an unbeaten regular season and an individual regional championship.
The state bracket’s ninth-seeded competitor, Godard bested Central’s Joe Welch, Southwood’s Andre Edwards, Catholic-Baton Rouge’s Charles Fremaux to punch his ticket to the state tourney, where he defeated Sulphur’s Brooks Giardina 2-0 in the state semifinals before ultimately falling in the final to Nicholas Watson of Catholic-Baton Rouge, 2-0.
“I was really proud of our kids this year,” said Hahnville tennis coach Shaun Crochet, who had led previous teams to finishes of 12-1 and 16-1 in regular season play but never had an unbeaten squad until 2018. “We’ve had a lot of turnover with our roster over the past couple of years. Our kids embraced the challenge of stepping up into new roles and moving up the seed latter. Up and down our roster, we had kids stepping up and taking care of business in a big way.”
Hahnville earned some significant victories over state powers this season, including Division II state runner-up E.D. White and a powerful Assumption program the Tiger boys had never before defeated. That success came down to the depth of the team’s talent pool, which saw two singles players go unbeaten and three doubles pairings that combined to go 33-3.
Godard was the team’s ace, however. The foreign exchange student from France made his year at Hahnville count, bringing a level of skill and experience that Crochet called truly special.
“What sets him apart is his ability to play with a high level of pace and maintain high level shot selection,” Crochet said. “He’s able to really place the ball wherever he wants, be it deep on the court or short. He can play from the net or the baseline. He’s methodical and he gets a read on what his opponent intends to do, and breaks it down from there. He has such a wide selection of shots he can choose from and it really gives him an advantage.”
Godard’s serve is also a game breaker.
“I’ve been around the high school game for 20 years or so, and he has one of the strongest serves I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing, let alone coaching,” Crochet said. “You have a lot of players who can hit the ball hard but not accurately. He’s got both. His serve is a weapon because he’s so consistent.”
Paul Phelan, the team’s top player last season, finished his senior year with a perfect 9-0 record in the regular season before advancing to the regional semifinal and then round two of the state playoffs.
In doubles, Sean Bui and Quinn Rougeou went 11-2 this season on the top seed line and placed as regional semifinalists. Taylor Jones and Jesse Wayment went 9-0 on the two line and Issac Moore and Jace Richard added a 13-1 mark.