Broadmoor High volleyball coach Maria Gonzalez had to smile, even though she wasn’t sure how to explain what just happened.
“We’re so young ? we only have one starter back,” Gonzalez said. “They worked hard, but we lost a lot of the times when we played this summer. Today they did it. They communicated and played well together. They won.”
Broadmoor was one of four teams that won all three of its games at Wednesday’s McKinley Jamboree, which helped signal the start of the prep season. Central and St. Joseph’s Academy were the other varsity teams to go unbeaten.
In the jamboree, teams play a series of 21-point games during a time frame of about one hour. The games serve as a dress rehearsal for the regular season that begins Monday.
A near capacity crowd rotated in and out of the Louisiana School for the Deaf gymnasium, each following at least one of the 20 teams playing. Action began with a series of junior varsity games. St. Joseph’s Academy’s JV went unbeaten in the first four-team pool.
That set the stage for Broadmoor, led by senior hitter Breona Taylor, to win its three games. The Bucs defeated Northeast 21-10 and then claimed 21-19 wins over Live Oak and Belaire.
Action in the third pool was just as competitive. Central won all three of its games, ousting Baton Rouge High 21-11 and Glen Oaks 21-1. The Wildcats edged host McKinley 21-19 with the fans erupting to cheer each momentum shift.
“This team just fights so hard,” Central assistant coach Michele Lebouef said. “They’re still trying to get used to a new system and the things we want them to do. Today, we were able to serve consistently and that made a difference.”
For many teams, the jamboree was a mixed bag of successes and reminders of fundamentals that still need work.
“I wish we had been a little more consistent in our serving when we played St. Joseph’s,” Redemptorist coach Jonathan Levesque said. “If we had, I think the score would have been closer.
“The McKinley Jamboree is the best jamboree in Baton Rouge. The thing I like about it is you get see three different defensive styles in a short period of time and you have to adjust to them. That makes you better.”
St. Joseph’s won all its games, beating Woodlawn, 21-14, before notching wins of 21-10 over Redemptorist and 21-12 over St. Michael the Archangel.
LSU volleyball coach Fran Flory was among the spectators on hand. Flory has typically attended the McKinley Jamboree, but watched this time around with special interest. Her daughter, Lindsay, is part of the University High team.
No team swept its way through the final foursome. Episcopal, Parkview Baptist and University each posted two wins. UHS closed out the five plus hours of action by rallying to edge Episcopal, 21-19.
“Every team that comes here is experimenting with lineups and trying to see how they match up with other teams,” PBS coach Becky Madden said. “We have two lineups. In the two games we won, I thought we were consistent. That’s something we’re working on.”
Though her team did not post a win, Glen Oaks coach Michelle Haynes said she planned to use the jamboree as a teaching tool.
“The first thing I’m telling them is don’t worry about what happened,” Haynes said. “It’s like a scrimmage. We have to stay in the gym and keep working.”
At Louisiana School for the Deaf
St. Joseph’s Academy JV 21, Episcopal JV 4
University JV 21, Central JV 14
St. Joseph’s JV 21, Central JV 12
University JV 21, Episcopal JV 17
St. Joseph’s JV 21, University JV 18
Episcopal JV 21, Central JV 12
Broadmoor 21, Northeast 10
Live Oak 21, Belaire 17
Belaire 21, Northeast 16
Broadmoor 21, Live Oak 19
Live Oak 21. Northeast 8
Broadmoor 21, Belaire 19
Central 21, Baton Rouge High 11
McKinley 21, Glen Oaks 10
Baton Rouge High 21, McKinley 19
Central 21, Glen Oaks 1
Baton Rouge High 21, Glen Oaks 6
Central 21, McKinley 19
St. Joseph’s Academy 21, Woodlawn 14
Redemptorist 21, St. Michael the Archangel 11
St. Joseph’s 21, Redemptorist 10
Woodlawn 21, St. Michael 14
St. Joseph’s 21, St. Michael 12
Woodlawn 21, Redemptorist 13
Episcopal 21, The Dunham School 16
Parkview Baptist 21, University 16
Episcopal 21, Parkview 15
University 21, Dunham 15
Parkview 21, Dunham 2
University 21, Episcopal 19