Teurlings gelling at right time of season — as playoffs start _lowres

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Teurlings Catholic players Mackenzie Marze (19) and Bailey Broussard (33) block the hit of St. Thomas More player Catherine Aillet (9) during their high school volleyball match Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 at STM in Lafayette, La..

The Teurlings Catholic volleyball team will look to earn its third consecutive LHSAA Division III state volleyball championship in the coming weeks after another solid regular season in which it finished with a 23-6 record and lost a singular set on its way to an 8-0 district record and the Division III, District 4 title.

Teurlings Catholic coach Terry Hebert said the Rebels have come a long way since the start of the season in September, and that he’s confident they will improve even more in the remaining weeks of the season.

“They’re getting better each match,” Hebert said. “We have just three weeks left, and we’re getting better at the right time. I don’t want to say we’re peaking because I know they can play better.”

Only one of the Rebels’ six losses this season came at the hands of a fellow Division III opponent when they fell to Ursuline Academy in a tournament early in the season in a close match in which the Lions edged them in the game-deciding set 18-16.

But with every loss came a learning opportunity, according to Hebert, who said the Rebels suffered no “bad” losses throughout the season.

“There were a handful of losses over the course of the season that we took that we probably shouldn’t have,” Hebert said. “I’ve been telling them all year, a loss is a good loss if you learn from it, and they have and it’s made us better. I’m proud of them. They’re maturing as players and as a team.”

One example of this growth came hours after Teurlings Catholic’s loss to Ursuline Academy when they played Academy of Sacred Heart-New Orleans.

After winning the first set 25-18, Hebert said the Rebels became complacent and failed to put the match away, allowing the Cardinals to eke out a 32-30 second-set victory before going on to win the third set 15-7 for the victory.

“When we played Academy of Sacred Heart in New Orleans, we goofed around in the second set, thinking that we had them,” Hebert said. “They were just really silly. Since then. they’ve made a concerted effort not to do that.”

That maturity showed in Teurlings’ regular season finale Tuesday night in which it defeated Cecilia in straight sets, widening the margin of victory in each one.

Teurlings took the first set 25-14, then won the second set 25-10 and finally put the contest away with a 25-8 third-set victory.

“Early in the season their mentality was ‘we have this,’ ” Hebert said. “They can still beat a lot of teams while joking around, but they set a goal in our last match at a certain score they wanted to keep their opponent to, and they did. They kept their foot on the gas.”

Hebert said his only worry going into the postseason is how the Rebels will respond if and when their backs are against the wall. He stated that, against good teams, Teurlings has a tendency to begin “playing not to lose.”

But he said his squad has matured immensely this season and knows there are few situations in which they cannot dig themselves out of.

“The other team is going to get four or five points in a row, especially if they’re a good team,” Hebert said. “We just need to make sure that we stop the bleeding quickly and finish.”