Destrehan looks to take step forward behind second year coach, talented roster

Khara Morton of Destrehan

Entering her second year piloting the Destrehan Ladycats volleyball program, Adison Giambrone sees the potential for her team to take a big step forward in 2023.

It starts at the net – or, more accurately, above it – for this team.

“Our offense is something serious this year,” Giambrone said.

Wildcat standouts Kamryn Boyne and Khara Morton each stand at approximately six feet tall. Giambrone noted that both say they’re 5’11 but that the coach believes each has crossed that 6’0 marker – “I don’t believe them … I’ve been around 6’2, 6’3 girls when I played in college, I’m pretty sure they’re over 6’0,” the former McNeese setter and defensive specialist quipped. In either case, both are experienced returning starters and joining four other returnees who either started or played extensively a year ago.

“We have a lot of height and talent coming back,” Giambrone said. “A couple of our girls got some great experience in club ball. We should also be tough with blocking … we’ve got a definite strength (at the net).”

The two set a strong example for the team as a whole.

“They’re both capable of playing six rotation and if I need them to, I will,” Giambrone said. “We’re overloaded with defensive specialist, though … when they’re on the court, they set the tone, and when they’re on the bench, they set the tone too. They’re great teammates.”

In what was a retooling season last year after the departure of a very strong senior core from the 2021 team, DHS went 11-23 in 2022. It’s left the players and coaches alike determined to take the necessary steps to return to the postseason. One thing that should make things easier is that this will be Giambrone’s second year guiding the program, the Wildcats entering this season with a season of experience in her system under their belt.

“I think trust and communication,” she said on the biggest difference from her first year to the second. “Not just with the kids, but with our coaching staff – I think we’re doing a much better job of front line communication. Last year, not making the playoffs was a huge thing … it was a whirlwind for everyone with a new coach, new ideas, playing a new defense. I think having that feeling of sameness across the board helps,” she said.

She added that the players are a tight group off the floor as well and that only helps with their on court chemistry.

While DHS might put points up in a hurry, defensively the Wildcats show a lot of promise as well. Paris Richard will be one of the team’s leaders on that front, moving to defensive specialist from outside hitter. Kumiko Xavier closed last season at libero and brings experience to the defensive core.

The team played summer league ball at Lutcher and Giambrone said the results were promising.

“There are a lot of things we were able to hone in on, and things we talked about last year that never really clicked until now – things like giving each other enough space on the court. I’m excited to see how we were able to able to speed up our offense,” she said.

Practice officially begins on Aug. 7. The season begins Aug. 28 as Destrehan travels to Crescent City.


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