Hahnville head volleyball coach Mendi LeBoeuf sees the hitting, the passing, serving and defensive ability in her players that give the Lady Tigers a chance to repeat as district champions, but there’s another element to this group she’s most pleased with.
“This group plays together no matter what is happening on the court, no matter what is going on. They really support one another and cheer each other on. When you have players who are so supportive of each other, it can be a really powerful combination when you’ve also got some really good players,” she said.
The Tigers do indeed have some really good players, though the program did see a strong senior class graduate in 2023 that included standout hitter and middle blocker Ella Wilkie.
Four players who started last season return though, including Mariah Mott – a name anyone who observed a Tigers game last season will remember well. Mott emerged as a force at the net next to Wilkie last season, racking up kills and blocks, and LeBoeuf said Mott has taken another step forward this summer as she prepares for her junior year.
“I think she’s going to be a problem for people right off the bat,” LeBoeuf said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching her over the course of the summer. She’s explosive, powerful and she’s equally smart. She’ll go hard after three or four balls, then change it up with a tip … she’s adding more variety to her game and she’s going to give people a lot of trouble.”
LeBoeuf said Mott has worked hard and upped her serving, passing and defense and is evolving into an all-around threat. She’ll also command a lot of attention from defenses, which should open things up for her teammates.
Kylie Spurgeon will be another vital player for Hahnville. Spurgeon played as a defensive specialist last season and now steps into the libero position for 2023.
“I think under Kylie’s leadership, we’ll defend well,” LeBoeuf said.
Ebby Zeringue returns as the team’s setter and LeBoeuf said she’s done a great job connecting with he team’s hitters on the floor and with her teammates as a leader off of it.
Those three combine with middle blocker Katelyn Dufrene to form a strong and experienced core for Hahnville.
While Mott is central to the HHS offensive attack, LeBoeuf likes how varied the attack has looked in practices and scrimmages.
“We can move the ball around. We have people who can put the ball on the court and we pass pretty well out of serve receive, which is very helpful for us,” she said.
This is also a hard-working group that understood it was losing some firepower from last season’s district championship roster and has been determined to keep the team’s momentum going nonetheless.
“We lost six seniors, and these kids have worked so hard with a goal of not allowing our play to dip while replacing as much offense as we are,” LeBoeuf said.
Perhaps most exciting of all for LeBoeuf and Tiger supporters alike is this is a team that will lean heavily on a strong junior class – the majority of this team will be in place for the next two seasons.
“It will be fun to continue to watch them grow,” LeBoeuf said.
Hahnville’s first match takes place Aug. 29 against Morgan City.