Weather creating havoc with local sports

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

St. John Parish Volleyball teams forced to relocate, reschedule

By Billy Gomila

Contributing Writer

LAPLACE – Sports have been but one of the many side effects Hurricanes Katrina and now Rita have had on area high schools, with numerous games and other events already cancelled or postponed.

While football is and always has been the sport that generates the headlines, girls’ volleyball teams around St. John Parish are also dealing with the disruptions Mother Nature has sent their way in the last two weeks.

East St. John

Head coach Sandi Stein’s Lady Wildcats (1-1) had a Thursday night game with Assumption postponed, and said that her biggest obstacle will be getting together with the other coaches in district 5-5A to figure out a district schedule.

“We’re keeping things as it is unless something changes,” she said. “But we really won’t know until we can meet.”

Stein said that the LHSAA has a meeting planned on Oct. 3 to figure out how postseason play could be handled, as many teams have missed games that they may be unable to make up. Earlier this week the organization decided to keep John Ehret in district five for this season after a proposal was made to move them and other Jefferson Parish schools into another district just for this year, due to the Katrina aftermath situation in the parish.

On the court, Stein said that her players have “good days and bad” as they work hard to regain a focus on the season amongst all the turmoil.

“It’s difficult to get them to focus,” she said. “But when they do focus, they can be pretty good.”

West St. John

The Lady Rams (0-3) are a young squad this year that head coach Glenda Mattos is working hard to mold into a team. Many of the team’s workouts still involve the basic concepts of what Mattos and assistant coach Neisha Green want them to do.

“Practices have actually been pretty good,” Mattos said, despite the massive distractions.

“The problem has been getting them to believe in themselves.”

Mattos’ squad is mostly filled with underclassmen, which gives her optimism that this experience could pay off tremendously in future years.

“If we can just get that first win under our belts,” the coach said. “I believe the skills are there, the girls just have to believe. It’s just like anything, it’s going to have to be built up.”

Reserve Christian

The Lady Eagles (0-2) are another team that has seen virtually all of its district schedule ruined by the storm, with most of their Class C opponents based out of New Orleans.

“The only one to contact the LHSAA about reopening is Crescent City Baptist,” head coach Brandy Mayeux said. “I’m just trying to schedule as many open dates as possible.”

Reserve Christian will likely fill most of their slots with games against other local teams.

Mayeux’s squad also faced difficulties from their school facilities being used to house evacuees and members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, which have been based out of St. John Parish.

“We had a rough start at first,” she said. “We didn’t practice for two weeks after the storm because of people from New Orleans and the 82nd Airborne were in our gym. Our first practice was on Sept. 12 and our first game was on the 13th.”

St. Charles Catholic

Head coach Michelle DeArmitt and the Lady Comets (2-5) have approached the Katrina situation with mindset of first and foremost finding a way to make up the games they’ve lost from their schedule.

“Probably the most consistent thing is that we’ve gone to school, then come in here and do what we do every afternoon,” said DeArmitt.

Games for this week, a Thursday night matchup with Lutcher and a Saturday one with Berwick, should be easily made up, the coach said.

“But we lost a few games prior to that,” she added.

Still, the coach admires the steadfast consistency the Lady Comets have shown in practice.

“We have no problem there,” DeArmitt said. “We just focus and do as best we can every day. It helps that we’ve had a pretty consistent schedule here at school.”