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Oberschmidt councluding memorable prep career

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / July 17, 1998

LAPLACE – Kristin Oberschmidt remembers her freshman volleyball season at St. Charles Catholic, looking up to players like Jenny Leier and BrookeGuillory.

Four years later, it was Oberschmidt that the freshmen were looking up to as she helped lead the Lady Comets to the 1997 state semifinals as the River Parishes Most Valuable Player. And Wednesday night, Oberschmidtwill cap her career by playing in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s State All-Star Volleyball game in Baton Rouge.

“I was excited,” Ober-schmidt said of being told by her coach, Anne Marie Burgard, who will serve as an assistant coach of the East squad, that she had made the team at the end of January. “I am really happy. I wanted tomake it real bad. It was the top goal I wanted to make for myself.”The All-Star game will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Pete MaravichAssembly Center on the LSU campus. Oberschmidt said she is just happy toget to meet other volleyball players she heard about during the season.

“I get to meet a lot of good players I look up to. It will be nice to talk toother people who play volleyball.”Playing with other top players in the state was something Oberschmidt said she could not imagine when she started playing volleyball at St. Joanof Arc in the seventh grade. Oberschmidt said she got interested involleyball because all her friends were going out for it.

Oberschmidt said it was a different experience when she hit high school.

Her first year at St. Charles Catholic, Ober-schmidt played on the juniorvarsity and freshman squads, watching players like Leier, Guillory and Rachel LeMoine lead the Lady Comets.

Oberschmidt’s interest in the sport grew during her sophomore year. Thatseason, the Lady Comets advanced to the state semifinals. Ober-schmidtplayed in the middle during a season but an injury forced her to move to outside hitter for the tournament.

“Moving from the middle to the outside was a big difference but it came naturally,” Oberschmidt said.

Oberschmidt would move to the outside to stay the following season, a move that helped the team with Kori Guillory and Shannon Dolive moving to the middle. That season, her junior year, Oberschmidt said the playersgot to know each other more. With the players coming together and gettingbetter, Oberschmidt said they knew they were capable of going all the way her senior year.

The Lady Comets came close, advancing to the state semifinals against perennial powerhouse Newman, a team that had defeated them handily the year before in district. But this time the Lady Comets held close, tying thescore at 11 in the first set before Newman pulled away for the victory in route to the state title.

“That was what we worked for and we came so close,” Oberschmidt said of making the semifinals. “We tried, we just didn’t have enough. But I amproud of the team this year and the way things turned out.”Oberschmidt comes from a family that has been involved in sports. Herbrother, Albie, played and is now a top armwrestler. Brothers Eric andHans both played football at St. Charles Catholic and her sister, Eve,played volleyball and softball. And younger sister, Katie, is a manager onthe volleyball team.

Oberschmidt also played basketball and softball for St. Charles Catholic,being named to the all-district team in each sport during her career. Itwas in softball that she made her biggest impact on the school’s athletic history, driving in the tying run and then scoring the winning one in the seventh inning of the state championship game against arch-rival Riverside.

Oberschmidt said she still remembers everything that happened during that game. She said she remembers feeling calm before coming to theplate in the seventh inning with Riverside up 1-0 and the tying run on second.

“I had hit a couple of foul balls,” Oberschmidt said of the last at-bat. “Ilooked at coach (Teri Hruska), took a deep breath and knew I had to hit one.”Oberschmidt did indeed hit one, into the right-center field gap to score Kristen Clement with the tying run. Ober-schmidt said she didn’t knowwhere she hit the ball until watching the game on tape later on.

After a ground out by Sarah Weber moved Oberschmidt to third, Alisha Reine lined a single to right. Oberschmidt hit the plate, turned to see ifReine was safe, threw off her helmet and was swarmed by her teammates.

She said it didn’t hit her that they were state champions until they saw the police escort leading them back into the parish.

Oberschmidt said the title meant more because it came against Riverside, the team that they always seemed to battle for the district title in every sport.

“I don’t care if you are dead last in district, it is neat to beat them, the rivalry is so strong,” Oberschmidt said. “Every time you thought you hadthem, they came back.”Oberschmidt said it was a rivalry between the schools, however, and not between the girls. It may have been an intense rivalry on the field but offit, many of the girls were friends.

Another thing that made the championship so special, Oberschmidt said, was the number of people who made the three hour drive to Alexandria to watch the team.

Oberschmidt said that was the typical of the support the team got, remembering a quarterfinal game her junior year in the volleyball tournament when her fellow students filled an entire section of the Pontchartrain Center.

“It felt good knowing that the students cared,” Oberschmidt said. “The fansupport for us was excellent. It meant a lot to me that people came towatch us.”Oberschmidt said she does not get overly excited about awards, but there was one that she was overwhelmed by – the school’s Miss Comet award, giving to the best female athlete. Oberschmidt said it was quite an honorto receive it, pointing to past winners like Brooke Guillory and Angela Klumpp.

As for her future, Oberschmidt will attend Southeastern Louisiana University this fall where she hopes to play on the volleyball team. Shesaid the things she will miss the most are her friends and fellow students.

Oberschmidt said it was hardest playing her final basketball game, knowing that it was going to be her last one. Oberschmidt had played onthe same team with players like Stephanie Donaldson since eighth grade at St. Joan of Arc when the team was the River Parishes champions.Looking back, Ober-schmidt said she could not pick one moment that was the most memorable, saying that she tries to remember them all.

“I have a lot of fond memories of the players I played with,” Oberschmidt said. “Everyday I take everything with me. I don’t forget things. I amafraid I am going to lose them if I don’t keep thinking about them.”

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