Teurlings Catholic coach Terry Hebert said his team played its “best match of the year” in Friday’s semifinal win over Ursuline at the LHSAA state volleyball tournament, but his biggest concern was carrying that over into Saturday’s title game.
The top-seeded Rebels (32-8) did that and more with a 20-25, 25-20, 32-30, 25-12 four-set win over No. 2 Lutcher to claim the school’s third consecutive Division III championship Saturday afternoon at the Pontchartrain Center.
“Our focus all year was to not worry about what we did in the past and to win the first title for this year’s group,” Hebert said. “I knew once we played the way we did against Ursuline that we were a different team, and I’m really proud of the way they closed this win out (Saturday) against a great Lutcher team.”
Freshman hitter Jodie Hidalgo led Teurlings with 22 kills, Abby Danos added 28 assists, and Lexi Hebert — who was awarded MVP after the match — finished with 13 kills, four aces and 22 digs.
“At first I didn’t think it was me they called because I thought they said a different number,” Hebert said. “But once I realized that it was me it was just an unbelievable feeling.”
Both teams went back and forth in an epic third set that had 22 ties and 10 lead changes, but Hidalgo (nine kills) outdueled Lutcher’s star hitter Jariel Tureaud (five kills and two blocks) in the set, as Teurlings found a way to finish off the set with a 32-30.
After coming away with the win in an emotional third set, the Rebels finished with a 25-12 win to end the match.
“We knew that whoever came away with that third set would have a huge emotional advantage going into the next one,” Lutcher coach Ricky LeBlanc said. “A bounce here or a bounce there, and it could’ve went our way, but it was hard to come back from that.”
The Bulldogs started fast in the first set, utilizing Tureaud’s six kills to jump out to a 17-13 lead before winning 25-20. After trailing 18-16 late in the second set, the Rebels responded by going on a seven-point streak to take a 23-19 lead and eventually claim a 25-20 win to tie the match.
“I was nervous in the beginning,” said Hidalgo, the only Rebels player that wasn’t a part of last year’s championship team. “It was fun just to be out there because I’ve never played in a game this big before.”
Leading the way for Lutcher (34-7), which played in its first volleyball state championship game, was senior hitter Jariel Tureaud with 21 kills and three blocks. Maci Schexnayder also added a game-high 33 kills.
Tureaud, who signed a scholarship to play at LSU next year on Wednesday and racked up 57 kills over the team’s historic three-match run at the Ponchatrain Center, said that the past week has been an “emotional roller coaster” for her.
“This week has been really crazy,” Tureaud said. “We made history with our run to the championship game, and obviously I wish we won, but we had a great year and I’m really proud of my teammates.”