Episcopal downs Riverside as Rebs’ season ends

Published 11:45 pm Friday, November 14, 2014


BATON ROUGE — Riverside’s hopes of advancing to the state semifinals for a third straight year ended two games shy of that goal Tuesday, as No. 8 Episcopal downed the visiting No. 9 seed Rebels in three games, 25-23, 25-18 and 25-13.

Episcopal (24-11) advanced to the state volleyball tournament to compete in the quarterfinal round against Pope John Paul II.

Riverside’s loss ended its season with a 25-13 overall record.

TyJah Greenup had seven kills and six digs for the Rebels. Briley Becker added five kills. Maddie Duhon, Abby Bourgeois and Sydney Joseph each served two aces. Duhon made 13 digs.

Erika Grant led the Knights in kills, with Courtney Gregoire and Kaitlyn Walker recording five and four, respectively. Walker also had six blocks, with Grant adding three.

The loss pitted Riverside against former Rebels coach Briget Melancon, who was the team’s head coach in 2010 and an assistant with the Rebels prior. Episcopal advanced to the Ponchartrain Center tourney for the first time in six years.

2014 marks the first time the Rebels won’t advance to the state tournament in the three-year tenure of head coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Riverside, with the core of the previous two semifinalist teams gone via graduation.

But a young team of new starters won 25 games, and Lucas-Nicholas said she was proud of what her team achieved.

“Given what we lost from last year, I’m pleased and proud of the way our players played and what we were able to achieve,” she said. “You take a loss like this and just build on your work ethic and keep improving your skills, and we’ll come back stronger.”

She said she didn’t think the sweep came as a result of jitters, rather the need to mature as a volleyball team.

“When we executed our plan, things were going well, but we tried to improvise too much and change things for no reason,” she said. “We saw some weaknesses in their defense, but we didn’t continue to take advantage. We also missed too many serves. We missed six, and we’re not the kind of team that can afford to miss that many. Serving needs to be our strength.

“But again, we will learn from this. We’ve got a team that can accomplish a lot in the coming years. In order to get there, it’ll take work.”