After weeks in the – quite literal – dark over when their season would start, the Destrehan Ladycats learned they’d be returning to action at the Brusly volleyball tournament.
The team started the season with flair, going 4-0 at the competition with wins over host Covington, St. Michael, Woodlawn and West Monroe, winning all eight sets at the tourney, which began last Thursday and wrapped up Saturday.
DHS earned a 25-17, 25-17 win over Covington; 25-17, 25-21 over St. Michael; 25-12, 25-10 over Woodlawn and 29-27, 25-16 over West Monroe.
Statistically, Ryley Boyne led the way with 46 kills, 26 digs and seven aces over the four matches. Setters Sarah Simon and Skylar Defrisco had 44 and 43 assists, respectively. Sadie Rochelle added 16 kills. Khara Morton had seven blocks while Kamryn Boyne had four blocks. Chloe Schexnayder had 25 digs and five aces.
Like cross-parish rival Hahnville, Destrehan jumped into competition with little practice time available: the Wildcats got one organized practice in since Hurricane Ida, one in which the group had to travel to Hammond to find available space.
That’s indicative for another large problem for the team: Destrehan’s campus, and the Wildcats’ home gym with it, suffered serious damage from Ida. Scheduling practice therefore becomes a chore, and scheduling home games an impossibility at the moment.
But DHS volleyball coach Edward Borgstede said the chance for his team to compete at Brusly last week gave everyone a chance to forget about the tough road ahead for a few hours at a time.
“I’ve been saying we’re the Ladycat road warriors,” Borgstede said. “The campus is in bad shape. We haven’t had electricity … but you know what, everyone was so happy to get back together. They were on the bus singing, having a good time, and once we got there we never dropped a set. We’re thankful to be able to get back out there, and once we got the OK from (St. Charles Parish Superintendent Ken Oertling and parish Athletic Director Kade Rogers) it was exciting for everyone.”
Borgstede said the team’s timing and chemistry wasn’t perfect, as one might expect given the time off, but the team showed its considerable upside on the court.
Returning from last season’s team is Ryley Boyne, a senior who committed to play at McNeese State over the summer. Boyne is Destrehan’s most dangerous offensive weapon, and the talented hitter was among Louisiana’s leaders in kills a year ago.
“We’ll go as far as Ryley takes us,” Borgstede said. “She’s grown considerably as far as her leadership goes. She’s got their full attention and everyone follows her lead. She’s the best player I’ve had here at Destrehan.”
That said, Borgstede also noted the team has to establish more production from other players on the court, as to not allow opponents to limit DHS by keying on Boyne. Defrisco and Simon are returning starters to set the table for all of the team’s options. Among those who the team expects much from this year is Morton, a 6’0 sophomore and the sister of former DHS football standout Tyler Morton.
“She had a real breakout summer,” Borgstede said. “She wasn’t on the junior varsity a year ago. She’s made that leap. She’s worked very hard.”
Schedule-wise, things are very fluid, Borgstede said. The team cannot host games, and several teams on the Destrehan schedule are facing their own problems – foes from Terrebonne and St. John parishes, for example.
But as that schedule gets pieced back together, the team itself has already done so.
“They made that commitment to stay in shape while they were off on their own,” Borgstede said. “Be it staying in Alabama, Arkansas … the best place for them is the volleyball court. Every one of them has been affected by this storm. Their lives have been turned upside down from this. It’s a welcome distraction, I think, for everyone.”
DESTREHAN BESTED BY DEFENDING CHAMPION: On Monday, Destrehan fell in Metairie to defending Division V champion Country Day, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-18.
Ryley Boyne led DHS with 21 kills and 18 digs in the match. while Rochelle made 12 kills. Schexnayder added 17 digs. Defrisco and Simon combined for 27 assists. Morton served three aces.
The match represented a stiff test for the Wildcats, as Country Day represents a program that’s won 11 state championships in the past 12 seasons.
“We played them tough, and won that first set,” said Borgstede. “I’m proud of the effort, considering having just the single practice.”