Rebels best Comets

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2013


LAPLACE — Riverside set out to take control early at home against rival St. Charles Catholic Tuesday. And, as has been the case for most of the 2013 season, the Rebels did exactly what they intended to do.
The Rebels charged out to a solid lead early in each of its three sets against the Comets en route to a 25-13, 25-14 and 25-17 District 4-IV victory.
“Every time we play St. Charles, we want to get as hyped as possible and make it a good performance,” said Riverside’s Jordan Duhon, who finished with a match-high 30 digs. “Don’t let up until the end.”
Riverside (26-7, 3-1) seemed to wrest away momentum for good early in the second game. RA marched out to a 14-2 lead that all but clinched a two games to none lead and left the Comets reeling.
“After winning the first one, we knew we had to keep it up. I thought we all went into that second game with a lot of intensity,” said Duhon. “We were each focused on exactly what we had to do to win.”
After a loss in four games to fellow district — and state — contender John Curtis last week, Riverside coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas called for a more diversified offense. Lucas-Nicholas said that overreliance on Kendra Turner, one of the state’s top offensive weapons, would lead to problems in the postseason.
Against St. Charles, Turner finished with 15 kills and 13 digs. But three Rebels finished with double-digit kills, with Hailee Eldridge and Hailey Tassin each producing a strong game at the net.
Eldridge, a 5’11 junior, finished with 10 kills and three blocks, one of her strongest performances this season. Her role has continued to grow with the Rebels in recent games.
“I feel like I’ve definitely improved. I’m still not completely where I want to be,” said Eldridge. “It makes me feel great to know (Lucas-Nicholas) sees me working hard and that she sees something in me.”
Lucas-Nicholas said that the opportunities for Eldridge, Tassin and their teammates will continue to present themselves.
“Everyone’s eyes are on Kendra,” said Lucas-Nicholas. “They understand it’s time for them to step up. This is something we’ve been really working on. We need balance and we need to know who we can turn to for offense when their focus is on taking Kendra out of it.”
A spike by Tassin sparked a run of three points that extended Riverside’s lead to 13-6 early in the first game. She made another kill just before a Toni Hebert ace made it 15-8. Tyjah Greenup, Turner and Eldridge each slammed kills and Cameron Hymel served two aces during a 6-1 run that made it 21-11 and effectively sealed a 1-0 lead for the Rebels.
Two Eldridge kills highlighted a 14-2 run to start the second game. St. Charles regained its footing after consecutive aces by Allison Savoie helped cut the lead to 15-8. A block by Maddie Murphy and an ace by Brooke Tregre got SCC within six at 18-12. But the Comets got no closer. An Eldridge kill nabbed the 25th and decisive point for RA.
Riverside jumped out to a 6-2 lead to start the third game, but this time SCC stayed close, eventually cutting the Rebels’ lead to 12-11.
But Turner began to assert herself from there. A pair of tips for points made it 15-11. She chased an Eldridge kill with three of her own, pushing the Rebels’ lead to 19-12. The Comets cut things to 20-15, but Riverside put it away from there after an ace by Briley Becker, a kill by Hebert and a match-clinching kill by Greenup.
St. Charles coach Kristin Sullivan said she felt her team lacked the energy it usually brings to a higher profile game, as Tuesday’s was.
“We didn’t play with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Sullivan. “We usually play pretty well against the tougher teams, but today, we made too many mistakes. We had a lot of trouble passing and we gave them too many free balls. When you give those up, you can’t win.”
Toni Hebert finished with 20 assists, while Dani Hebert added 10. Becker had eight digs.
For St. Charles (7-15, 1-2), Alyssa Arceneaux led the way with 11 digs and two aces.
Lucas-Nicholas said that the Rebels fell a little flat in the third game, but she was pleased that her team controlled the action early.
She was also pleased with how her team has responded after the disappointing loss to Curtis.
“They’ve handled it in a mature way. They came in after that and went right back to work. It was a district game, but at the end of the day it shows us exactly what we need to do to get to where we need to be.”
CURTIS TOPS SCC – Curtis overcame a spirited second game effort from the Comets to seal a three game sweep Thursday, 25-13, 25-19 and 25-12.
Brooke Tregre made six assists for the Comets. Lela Hill made11 digs and four kills. Alyssa Arceneaux had 11 digs as well for the Comets (7-16, 1-3)