Saturday saw the kind of back-and-forth matchup that makes playoff volleyball special, a battle between No. 9 seed Fontainebleau and No. 8 Hahnville that went to the very last set.
Ultimately only one team could advance, however, and the Bulldogs’ execution down the stretch proved the difference as it eliminated the Tigers from the state playoffs, earning a 25-15, 9-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-8 victory in Boutte.
Fontainebleau (28-15) advanced to the state quarterfinals to match up with No. 1 seeded Dominican.
It was a game of momentum swings – and big swings in general by a group of collectively strong hitters on each side of the net. The Bulldogs charged out with a win in the first set. Hahnville dominated the second set and kept its momentum rolling in the third. Fontainebleau’s adjustments in the middle of the fourth set proved to be the difference as it sealed the match with wins in the last two sets.
Hahnville head coach Mendi LeBoeuf said it wasn’t the ending to the season her team wanted, but that her group – as always – fought till the very end.
“These kids have been process driven,” said LeBoeuf. “They made a commitment way back last spring. They continued that through the summer, continued through the fall. Sometimes like today, we didn’t perform the way we needed to, but the intent, and the love for each other and the intensity never wavered. We just didn’t execute way we needed to.”
Fontainebleau captured the day’s first set, finalizing it with a thunderous kill by Marley Lange.
Hahnville (26-11) quickly took control of the second set, kicking off a surge on the back of kills by Katelyn Dufrene and Mariah Mott and an ace by Maci Hollingsworth that made it 6-3. Ebby Zeringue set up Mott, Hollingsworth and Dufrene for a steady stream of kills as Hahnville pushed the lead to 19-8, and Kylie Spurgeon provided perhaps the highlight play of the match on a diving dig that eventually led to a Zeringue tip score.
The match tied up at 1-1, Hahnville created some seperation in set 3 when Hollingsworth made back-to-back kills to put HHS up 4. A pair of tough serves by Dufrene and two scores by Mott got HHS to a late game advantage, and Dufrene finished off the set with a kill.
HHS led the fourth set 7-3 when an Ava Freeman kill ignited the Bulldogs, who scored four in a row to tie things up. A Lange block gave Fontainebleau a 12-10 lead. Hahnville called time out with FHS up 15-13, but the Bulldogs scored the next three capped by an Ally Alfonso kill that made it 18-13. Hahnville couldn’t recover and the match was headed to a final, decisive set.
Alfonso came up big early in the final battle, a tip and a block helping spur her team to a 5-1 lead. Mott made a kill to stop the run, but serving and return errors derailed the Tigers’ momentum. Smelling the victory, Fontainebleau finished strong. A pair of Turner Bergeron kills widened FHS’ lead to 11-6. Hahnville couldn’t climb back in it, scoring twice more before Fontainebleau finalized the win.
“I thought we lost a little bit of our passing out of serve receive, and it slowed down our offense,” said LeBoeuf. “If you give a really good team some not aggressive balls, they’re going to turn it into offense, and they did. I think that gave them more confidence and a spark, and it was hard for us to get back from there.”
Alfonso led the Bulldogs with 12 kills, with Bergeron adding 11. Hannah Ellis had six, while racking up 27 assists.
For Hahnville, Mott made 24 kills and had 13 digs. Dufrene served five aces and had 12 kills. Hollingsworth had 16 kills. Spurgeon had 19 digs and Zeringue 14.
HAHNVILLE SWEEPS CAPTAIN SHREVE – The Lady Tigers kicked off the postseason with a dominant first round victory over No. 25 Captain Shreve, 25-14, 25-11, 25-18.
A loud and proud audience at Hahnville watched the home team finish the match in style – the day was highlighted by a run of 12 straight points in the third and final game. With Cambri Garcia serving, HHS took a 9-3 lead to 21-3 to slam the door shut on the win.
Mott had 15 kills, Dufrene nine and Hadley Ladner six. Mott added 10 digs, with Spurgeon making nine and Garcia eight.
Dufrene said this Tigers team has been very tight knit all season long, and that closeness helped them to some of their biggest victories – including this year in round one.
“We’ve been working really hard from the very beginning,” said Dufrene. “We have a great connection here … we keep on each other to keep the energy high, go out and play our game. It’s been a long time since we reached this high of a ranking, and the atmosphere today was great. It’s been very special and exciting to be a part of.”