After losing eight seniors from her 2021 squad, Hahnville Lady Tigers head volleyball coach Mendi LeBoeuf said she realistically expected a bit of a learning period early on this season as the team integrated several new starters into the fold.
But these Tigers learn quick.
Hahnville is off to a strong 9-3 start this season after its most recent victory, a four-set victory against John Curtis Tuesday night as the Tigers keep building momentum. There’s a lot of energy around the program, and rightfully so.
“Losing eight seniors, a really big class, we knew it would be a transition,” LeBoeuf said. “To be honest, we’re a little further along than I anticipated, knowing the turnover we had. Our players are working hard and definitely progressing, and it’s very exciting.”
Senior Ella Wilkie is among the leaders of the team. After moving from the outside to her 2022 position of middle blocker, she’s off to a strong start and LeBeouf says she’s setting a fantastic example for her teammates.
“Ella leads our offense … she comes in every day with a lot of energy,” LeBoeuf said. “She’s made a lot of improvement to her offensive game. She’s a powerful weapon. Her teammates are stepping up their game in the same respect to really working hard.”
As Wilkie is to the offense, fellow senior Sandy Bourgeois is to the defense as its libero.
“In addition to being a very good player, she’s a very good leader,” LeBoeuf said. “She leads by action and by her ability to communicate. And she’s really helped us be able to develop a more consistent serve receive. We have three sophomores and Sandy in serve receive, and I think she gives them a lot of confidence.”
One area of stability has been at setter, where senior Kourtney Irons and sophomore Ebby Zeringue return. That consistency from a year ago has helped the team’s offense come together as quickly as it has, LeBoeuf said.
“They’re mature, and they’ve been in that position before. They’ve done a great job taking feedback from hitters as to how they can put them in the best position to be successful,” LeBoeuf said.
Sophomore outside hitters Mariah Mott and Makynzi Williams, middle blockers Shannon Kenney and Katelyn Dufrene and defensive specialist Kylie Spurgeon are other rotation mainstays who have factored large in the hot start.
Against Curtis on Tuesday, Hahnville earned a 25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-23 victory as four Tigers secured double-digit kills. Wilkie led the way with 16. Mott made 13 while Kenney and Williams each made 11. Dufrene served three aces.
“We got off to a pretty decent start and won the first one, but didn’t have the best second set,” LeBoeuf said. “We hung in there and fought back after falling behind quite a bit, but dropped that one. After that, we got into a groove again and did a better job. When we needed to take care of business and needed to hold on, we did that. That’s very important to establish for yourself when you have a lot of young players on the court.”
Hahnville returns to action today at the Morgan City tournament, where HHS will play five matches. Today (Sept. 15), it will face off with Newman and Central Lafourche, followed by a trio of matches on Saturday.
“When you’re integrating new lineups, it’s important to play as much as possible. So to be able to get five matches at least here, that’s exciting for us,” LeBoeuf said.