Hahnville coach Mendi LeBoeuf believes her 2017 Tigers can be every bit as capable and successful as her 2016 squad, which won its first district championship in a decade.
Realistically, it might take a bit of time. Hahnville returns just one starter from a season ago, senior middle blocker Stephanie Oubre, and Oubre herself is not yet 100 percent as she rehabilitates an ankle injury suffered in AAU competition.
But LeBoeuf sees a talented group willing to work hard and fulfill a world of potential.
“I think last year’s seniors were very good leaders and taught our younger kids how to work the right way,” LeBoeuf said. “Our younger players are ready to get in there. They share the same pride our older players took in our program and they want to play at highest level they’re capable of playing.
“We’re definitely going to be a little young, but we’re working hard all summer and making progress.”
Oubre earned honors as a member of the 6-I All-District First Team last season and, once healthy, she’ll be counted on to lead her younger teammates on and off the court
“She brings a lot of experience,” LeBoeuf said. “She’s really so much more than a middle blocker, not just a front row player. She controls the ball really well. She can defend. Once we can get her back on court, she can really be a calming presence. Stephanie’s a really strong leader for what’s going on the court.”
Hahnville will play in a preseason jamboree at Lutcher Wednesday (Aug. 23) before kicking its season off officially Aug. 29 at home against Morgan City (4 p.m., Freshmen/JV/V). A day later the Tigers will travel to Terrebonne and then take part in the South Louisiana Invitational Tournament at Woodlawn.
Early in the season, Hahnville will look to build chemistry and establish the foundation of what this group of players can do together. LeBoeuf said the starting lineup is still to be settled.
“I think we’ve been stressing over the last several weeks and throughout the summer, getting that clean first touch out of serve receive and control that first touch on defense,” LeBoeuf said. “If we do that, then this team can probably match up to last year’s team very quickly. We’re excited about that. You always hope to get off to strong start and sustain it. But I think that we can pass, defend and serve as well as last year’s team. We’ll have to rely on that as we come together on offense.
“Our kids are highly motivated and so excited for the coming season. I think it’ll be an exciting September. But we need to aim for constant improvement.”