Sydney Joseph, Margot Frederick sit atop L’OBSERVATEUR’s 2015 All-St. John the Baptist Parish Volleyball Team

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LAPLACE — When the prep volleyball season begins each August, every Louisiana high school team sets the goal of finishing in the same place — the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

Margot Frederick

Riverside coach Margot Frederick

There, the state’s top teams gather to compete for the five state championship trophies that are handed out on the final day.

Of course, not every team gets there.

Riverside Academy was the only St. John the Baptist Parish team to get to the Pontchartrain Center this season, and the Lady Rebels did so with a whole lot of young faces.

In her first season as head coach, Margot Frederick led the Rebels to a 25-15 record and a runner-up finish in District 5-IV. As the No. 6 seed, Riverside earned a bye in the bi-district round of the playoffs, then defeated No. 11 seed University Lab in three games to reach the quarterfinals and the State Tournament.

Riverside ultimately lost to No. 3 seed Notre Dame in three games, 25-7, 25-13 and 25-17.

Frederick achieved all this with a sophomore-laden team, no seniors and a couple of eighth graders pitching in. Frederick has been selected as the Coach of the Year on this year’s L’OBSERVATEUR All-St. John the Baptist Parish Volleyball team.

“It was lots of fun,” said Frederick, who spent a season as head coach at Loyola University New Orleans before coming to Riverside. “We accomplished a lot as the season went on. When you’re coaching young women, relationships are very important. We really formed strong relationships, and that allowed us to peak.”

Frederick said she is most proud of her team’s win over University High in the regionals.

“That was the best match we played all season top to bottom,” Frederick said.

Among those sophomores contributing to Riverside’s success was outside hitter Sydney Joseph, whom Frederick called the team’s “most dominant player.” The 5-foot-10 Joseph finished the season with 399 kills, 104 aces, 21 blocks and 346 digs.

She is the 2015 L’OBSERVATEUR All-St. John the Baptist Parish Player of the Year.

“For her to get it as a sophomore really says something,” Frederick said. “She really led us this season.”

All four of St. John’s volleyball teams had new or almost new coaches. Only St. Charles Catholic’s Meghan Ericksen was in her second season.

St. Charles Catholic finished the regular season at .500 with a record of 18-18. That earned the Lady Comets the No. 12 seed in the Division IV bracket. St. Charles defeated No. 21 seed Northeast in the bi-district round of the playoffs to advance to the regionals.

“We didn’t meet our goal of making it to the Pontchartrain Center, but came very close,” Ericksen said. “Early on in the season, we beat ourselves in some losses that went to five games, but we were able to figure out what was going on and fight back. I believe, in some ways, we shocked people with our talent. We are not the most intimidating team out there, but what we do well is hustle and never give up. I am so proud (of) how far these girls and their talents have come and cannot wait until next season to, hopefully, come out even stronger.”

East St. John finished the season 15-21, but first-year coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas said this group was special.

“We spend months working with a group of players to mold and shape a season,” she said.

“Countless hours go into designing plays and drills to help the team succeed. The time spent always has ups and downs, but through it all, the team becomes a family.”

West St. John is still in a rebuilding mode with first-year coach Joshua Bellaire. The Lady Rams played only a district schedule and finished 2-12.

2015 L’OBSERVATEUR All-St. John the Baptist Parish Volleyball Team

Alyssa Arceneaux,

St. Charles Catholic, Sr.

The Comets’ libero had 811 digs, 30 kills and 31 aces.

Briley Becker,

Riverside Academy, So.

An outside hitter, she finished with 389 kills, 68 aces, 20 blocks and 405 digs.

Abby Bourgeois,

Riverside Academy, So.

The Rebels’ setter, Bourgeois had 920 assists, 216 digs and 73 aces this season.

Maddie Duhon,

Riverside Academy, Jr.

The Rebels’ libero, Duhon had 404 digs and 66 aces this season.

D’myriah Herbert,

West St. John, Sr.

* The senior outside hitter was the Rams’ best all-around player and an all-district selection.

Lela Hill,

St. Charles

Catholic, Sr.

Hill finished with 135 kills, 48 aces, 32 digs and 54 blocks.

Kalah Jones,

East St. John, Sr.

*An all-district team selection, Jones was the leader of this year’s team.

Sydney Joseph,

Riverside Academy, So.

This year’s Player of the Year, Joseph recorded 399 kills, 104 aces, 21 blocks and 346 digs.

Grace Mohon,

St. Charles Catholic, So.

An all-around solid player, Mohon came through with 182 kills, 57 aces, 192 digs, 18 blocks, 79 assists

Maddie Murphy,

St. Charles Catholic, Sr.

Murphy recorded 99 kills, 79 aces, 145 digs and 9 blocks for the Comets.

*Statistics not available