Curtis wins first from district rivals in 3 games

Published 11:45 pm Friday, September 26, 2014


RIVER RIDGE  — There’s been a lot of change in a short amount of time for John Curtis’ Hebert sisters, who transferred to Curtis from Riverside just as the school year began. 

Not everything is different though: they’re still winning plenty of volleyball games. 

Curtis moved to 12-0 Thursday night with a 25-8, 25-19, 25-8 victory over Riverside in the District 4-IV opener for both teams. 

Toni and Dani Hebert moved over to Curtis when their mother, longtime Riverside coach Kristy Hebert, accepted a position as Curtis’ assistant athletic director. 

The two teams have been the dominant forces in the district for years, with the Rebels winning the district crown in each of the past two years en route to the Division IV semifinals.

But Curtis was in rare form on its home court Thursday. The Patriots set the tone early by jumping out to a 10-1 lead in the first game. While a string of Tyjah Greenup kills helped the Rebels make a push, Curtis never relinquished control and put the opener away on a Sarah Drake kill.

Riverside regrouped in a back-and-forth second game, the early stages highlighted by a Hailee Eldridge and Briley Becker double-block for a point. A Greenup kill gave Riverside a 12-11 lead before Curtis took off. Back-to-back kills by Layne Estes and Carsyn Wallow helped fuel a 7-0 run that pout JCC ahead 18-12. An Eldridge kill cut the lead to 19-16, but it was as close as Riverside would get. Estes finished things with a tip for a score. 

“Right there in that second game, we’re thinking, ‘OK, we can do this,’” said Riverside coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas. “Then they’d hit one down and we’d fall out of it, stop executing.”

The Patriots never cooled off. Another red hot start saw Curtis take a 10-2 advantage. Drake made three kills in an 11-0 run that made it 23-8, all but sealing the victory.

“We came in with a plan, but we didn’t execute it,” Riverside coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas said. “We know who they are and we know what they’ve got. Sometimes, with a young team, you get caught up in the hype (of the rivalry).”

“I thought we passed much better in this game than we have been,” said Curtis coach Dawn Curtis. “We made a few unforced errors in the match, particuarly in the second set, but other than that I thought we played very well.

“It’s been a pretty strong rivalry with these two teams. They get excited to play us, and we get excited to play them.”

Greenup finished with eight kills and seven digs. Eldridge had four kills and an ace. Abby Bourgeois had eight assists and Maddie Duhon had six digs.

For Curtis, Wallow finished with 11 kills, with Drake and Tatiana Bell making six and Estes five. Bell also had 12 digs, with Reaghan Fabacher making eight of her own.

Both Hebert sisters said the day felt a little strange, suiting up for a rival against their former coach and teammates.

“I knew it was something I’d have to get used to,” said Dani Hebert. “Curtis was always one of our top rivals at Riverside. I knew it would be an intense game. Riverside’s really talented and they’re going to win a lot of games.”

Toni Hebert, a junior who had started with Riverside since her 8th grade year, said she didn’t know what to expect from the move at first, but that it wasn’t entirely unfamiliar; she and her sister attended Curtis before Riverside, departing before Toni’s 4th grade year.

“Coach talked to us before the game and told us she knew it would be an emotional day, but we had to treat it like any other game when we got out here,” she said. “We’re really excited about what we can do this year. There’s so much talent on this team and we’re on a nice winning streak right now. We’ve got a chance to make a run.”



HANNAN DEF. RIVERSIDE – In non-district action, Hannan bested Riverside in Reserve in three games, 25-17, 25-14 and 25-11.

Eldridge finished with 10 kills and three blocks. Bourgeois had eight assists and 10 digs. Greenup served three aces.