West St. John, Riverside Academy, St. Charles Catholic advance to postseason volleyball play
Published 12:00 pm Monday, October 30, 2017
Edgard — The West St. John High Lady Rams advanced to the playoffs this week with a 6-6 record and will face off against Dunham at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in an away match.
Head coach Tahajenik Melancon is pleased with how the season has progressed and believes effective teamwork on the court contributed to the team’s third place standing in District.
“The season has been great,” Melancon said. “The communication on the court has been the best I’ve ever seen. To go from only winning two or three games last year to being 6-6 and third in district is great.”
Coverage has been a main focus during practice this year, Melancon said. She’s worked on building a strong defense by teaching the team to make it to the net quickly to cover the hitter and dig blocked balls.
The Lady Rams evaluate opponents on a case-by-case basis, and they will figure out a strategy against Dunham in the midst of the match, Melancon said.
If the team takes home a win Tuesday, WSJH will advance to regional playoffs Thursday against Episcopal of Acadiana.
Melancon said Emiya Lumar, Palike Howard, Jarae Jackson and Jazzmen Jackson have been standout players this season for their aggressive play on the court and ability to maintain control of the ball.
(Update: West St. John closed their season Tuesday evening, losing the bi-district match to Dunham with scores of 25-12, 25-7 and 27-25.)
As reigning 8-0 District champs, the Lady Rebels bypassed round one of the playoffs and are preparing to match against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Catholic High – New Iberia and Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy on Thursday.
If successful, the team will advance to the LHSAA Division IV quarterfinals next week at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, placing them one step closer to taking home the championship title Nov. 11.
Head Coach Brandi Melancon said the team has found success in consistent play, remaining unfazed and executing the same strategy against each opponent.
The Lady Rebels wrapped up regular season play over the weekend with a 29-11 overall record following a tournament at Dunham resulting in two wins against Dunham and Madison Prep and three hard-fought losses against Dutchtown and St. Michael the Archangel.
Melancon said the team’s six seniors have left a mark on the program, and she’s proud of the leadership they have provided this season.
“I’ve been watching them play together for years,” Melancon said. “I knew they were a special group of young ladies before I took the job as their coach. I’m so happy to be on this journey with them.”
She spoke positive words about the contributions of each girl.
Danecia “Dannie” Nora keeps everyone lighthearted and laughing, as Jennifer Legeaux connects with teammates as the positive enforcement of the team, according to Melancon.
Sydney Joseph and Briley Becker lead by example and play fiercely and competitively on the court, always consistent in showing their love for the game.
Abby Bourgeois and Haley Madere work hard and play with passion, Melancon said, noting Bourgeois commands the court and pushes others to be better, and Madere remains one of the hardest working players she knows.
(Update: Riverside will play Catholic High – New Iberia 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Riverside Academy.)
St. Charles Catholic
The St. Charles Catholic Lady Comets officially ended regular season play last week with 14-18 record, 4-4 in District, following a tough senior night match against Destrehan ending in a loss.
Head coach Meghan Ericksen said their final game against Destrehan started off horribly, but the girls showed strength when they came back from an 0-2 start and won the next two matches before taking a loss.
The Lady Comets are now entering postseason play and are slated to face-off against Patterson at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Regala Park. If successful, they will advance to the regional round and play Archbishop Hannan on Thursday.
Ericksen said the team is practicing as if they are advancing to match against Hannan and working on “attacking more, attacking often and limiting free balls.”
“This is our last chance to play, so hopefully we can play hard enough,” Ericksen said, noting the teams in the playoffs are formidable opponents.
“I’m not expecting it to be easy at all. I expect them to be big and athletic.”
Ericksen said she is proud of the team for overcoming what’s been a stressful season and acclimating to limited practice times resulting from not having a home gym.
The girls have made the most of what they have, she said, and several players have consistently stepped up on the court, providing digs, aces and assists.
Next season is a fresh start.
“We’re losing our whole starting lineup,” Ericksen said, referencing the nine graduating seniors on the team. “Next year is a new start, a new story, and we should have a gym.”
(Update: SCC topped Patterson Tuesday 3-0 with scores of 25-12, 25-16 and 25-17. The Lady Comets advanced to regional play and will match against Archbishop Hannan Thursday.)