Wildcats upend Rebels

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2011



RESERVE — The Riverside volleyball team may not have a winning record after three games, but coach Briget Melancon believes that these early struggles will be beneficial in the long run.

That thought process was likely emboldened Thursday.

The Lady Rebels fell to a pair of Division I/Class 5A opponents this week, on the road at Terrebonne Monday and then to Destrehan in the Rebels’ home opener Tuesday.

But Thursday told a different tale as the Rebels rallied after falling behind host Thibodaux 2-0 to take a 21-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21 and 15-13 victory and their first win of the season.

“They really played together,” said Melancon of her team after the win. “The best thing about it is that they know what they’re capable of. No matter who we had in, they were cohesive and really consistent.”

Melancon would like to see the team’s record reversed. But she noted that last season, as the schedule got progressively more difficult, the team’s performance suggested it wasn’t quite as ready as it needed to be for that step up in competition.

“I’m glad we’re starting off with some tough competition,” she said. “Last year, we started strong and our record was so good that it might have given us a false sense of security as we went on. Now we’re seeing these 5A schools that play a faster game.”

Destrehan toppled the Rebels in three games, 25-18, 25-10, and 25-21.

Toni Hebert had 10 assists and three kills for Riverside. Taylor Terrio had three kills. Shelby Deslatte had a pair of aces. Danielle Sharp had two blocks.

Destrehan took the early advantage in the first game after a run of four consecutive points gave the Wildcats a 10-4 lead.

Riverside answered to close to within two at 14-12 after a 6-1 run highlighted by a double-block by Terrio and Sharp. But Kayla Smothers’ block keyed a DHS five point run, capping it with a tip and a block, each for scores. Jenna Roussel’s ace would get Riverside within four late at 22-18, but DHS’ Jennifer McClendon finished the game with a spike.

The second game was all Wildcats from the start, DHS scoring 10 of the first 11 points. With DHS ahead 16-8, kills by Smothers and Alyssa Raddecker ignited a 5-0 run to make it 21-8. Smothers’ spike would end things.

“We started very strong, I thought,” said Destrehan’s Robin Sill. “We passed well, the key to our offense. We set well, ran middles very well, played defense and served tough.”

The third game was back and forth. Riverside took an early 6-5 lead on a Deslatte ace. The teams were tied at 10, 11 and 12 before a scoring hit by Erica Delauneville and an errant DHS return gave RA a two point lead.

But McClendon’s three kills fueled an 8-1 Destrehan run to put the Wildcats up by five and firmly in control. Smothers ended the final game as she did the second, with a kill.

“I thought we played well offensively,” said Destrehan coach Denise Keller. “In the first game, we missed seven serves and you can’t do that and continue to be effective. But it got better … we were two and one at the jamboree and weren’t really effective offensively, so this was a much better performance.”

Said Melancon, “Nobody really played to their potential today. It was night and day from (the opening game). We need to play with more intensity, it was just lacking today. It picked up later on, but I never got the feeling that the girls truly thought they were back in it.”

Thursday looked like it could be more of the same as Thibodaux took a two games to none lead. But the Rebels rallied for their first victory of the season behind a lineup sporting some changes from the first two games.

Deslatte had a monstrous defensive game, racking up 50 digs. Sharp led in kills with 19. Taylor Terrio had 26 assists and Jenna Roussel had 13 kills and three aces.

Some tweaks to the lineup came by necessity as an injury to Toni Hebert sidelined the setter. But the Rebels would receive a spark from Dani Hebert — Toni’s sister — who saw her first varsity action and piled up 20 assists.

“She’s our setter on the junior varsity team and we brought her up,” said Melancon. “She absolutely stepped up for us.”

Against Terrebonne, the Rebels fell 26-24, 25-16 and 25-18.

Sharp had six kills and five blocks. Hebert had five kills, nine assists and an ace. Terrio had 11 assists. Hebert, Jordan Duhon and Deslatte each collected an ace while Deslatte led defensively with 23 digs.

“I thought the girls played a lot better than the score reflects,” said Melancon. “I was very pleased with our level of play throughout the match.”