Destrehan has made a point of scheduling difficult early season matches on the volleyball court to properly test its players, and so far, head coach Edward Borgstede is pleased with what he’s seeing in his third season with the program.
Destrehan improved to 5-6 last week with a victory over Belle Chasse, that start against a difficult slate representing a big improvement from the way the team began last season.
“We were 1-9, 1-8 … we’re making progress,” Borgstede said. “We’ve had good senior leadership, and I expected as much … we’ve got a really good blend of youth and experience, where in the past couple of years we’ve been really experienced or really young across the board.”
Seniors Noelle Kelley, Gia Zeringue, Allison Carmichael and Isabelle Chaisson have supplied the experience and set the example for a team looking to take another step after finishing as district runner-up a season ago.
Perhaps the greatest edge this year’s team has others in recent years is height at the net. Sophomore Addie Benefield and Boyne, a freshman, are 6-foot-4 and 5-foot-11, respectively, as their team’s middle blockers. Their addition has allowed Zeringue to move from that spot to outside hitter, which Borgstede said is her natural position.
“It without a doubt lets (Zeringue) attack more,” Borgstede said of the move. “She’s probably getting twice the amount of sets as before.”
At this point of the season, Borgstede there are a number of correctable mistakes being made in matches. At the same time, while he wants to see that cleaned up, he doesn’t want his players to play too cautiously while they’re on the court.
“I’ve always preferred playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose,” Borgstede said. “It’s not in me to teach them to play safe.”
Last Tuesday, the Wildcats improved to 5-6 by defeating Belle Chasse in a tight five-game match, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to earn a 25-19, 13-25, 23-25, 25-18 and 15-10 victory.
“Conditioning played a big part in the match. We seem to get stronger as the match wears on. I have all the confidence in the world with this team if it goes 5 sets. They thrive on it,” Borgstede said. “They were a playoff team a year ago, a tough test for us.”
Gia Zeringue made 14 kills and Ryley Boyne served five aces and tallied six blocks for Destrehan. Nijai Smith slammed home 13 kills. Allison Carmichael and Mallory Laumann made 23 and 22 assists, respectively, and Noelle Kelley made 18 digs.