Rebels win in 4, move on to state volleyball tourney

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013


LAPLACE – Riverside overcame a game St. Thomas Aquinas volleyball squad at home Thursday to qualify for the state volleyball tournament at the Pontchartrain Center, besting the Falcons in four games, 25-18, 20-25, 25-13 and 25-23.
Hailee Eldridge slammed down the match-clinching kill off of an assist from Dani Hebert after a dramatic back-and-forth fourth game that saw the Rebels rally from down 17-14, and nearly saw STA rally from  23-19.
Kendra Turner led Riverside at the net with 25 kills. Eldridge had six kills and five blocks. Tyjah Greenup added seven kills.
Dani Hebert had 25 assists and served four aces. Jordan Duhon served three aces and racked up 20 digs. Toni Hebert had 23 assists.
St. Thomas (18-24) seemed to be gathering confidence and momentum after taking a 17-14 lead in game four. A Turner spike and then a Cameron Hymel ace helped RA rally to tie things up and eventually take a 20-18 lead.
Carly Drude answered with a spike to draw the Falcons within one. Eldridge made a block and then Hebert served an ace to push RA to a 23-19 advantage.
But kills by Jordan Strahan and Julie Gaudin, followed by an ace by Savannah Laborde created some endgame drama.
Greenup gave Riverside some distance with a spike to make it 24-22. A Rebels serving error gave STA life, but Riverside finished things out via Eldridge’s spike.
“Kendra’s been our main hitter, but I feel like we’ve got a lot of people that can get it done,” said Dani Hebert. “They’re really picking it up now, because they know that we’re going to need more than one (hitter) to go far.”
The Rebels won the first and third games relatively easily, the third sealed on a game-ending 14-3 run. Turner slammed four kills during that run, while Duhon and Becker combined to serve four aces.
St. Thomas made it a match when it won the second game, however. STA trailed early but eventually tied RA at 16 on Madison Forrest’s spike. A 5-0 Falcons run gave STA a sudden 21-17 advantage, and RA never drew closer than three after that.
That was the first game victory of the season for STA over Riverside, which defeated the Falcons twice in-season.
Turner said that last year’s Rebel run to the state semifinals was a learning experience that will help the team as they attempt to take it a step further.
“We know that it comes down to intensity. You’ve got to have it from the start once you’re at the Pontchatrain Center,” said Turner. “We need to focus on ourselves. If everyone’s playing their role and playing well, we’ll be good.”