LAFAYETTE — Teurlings Catholic got the defense of its Division III state volleyball championship off to a dominating straight-sets win over Pearl River on Monday.
Teurlings coach Terry Hebert said his team were “like horses in the gate ready to go” and said that nervous energy resulted in a rocky start to the first set.
“We hit some balls out bounds and just made some silly mistakes,” Hebert said of her team’s 25-11, 25-4, 25-16 win. “Eventually, we settled in and did what we were supposed to do.”
With the set score at 14-10, Teurlings went on a 11-1 stretch to close out the first set 25-11. Hebert said Pearl River had scrappy players made Teurlings work to find open spots on the floor.
“Every team comes in with adrenaline knowing it’s the playoffs,” he said. “I didn’t expect anything less from (Pearl River). They gave themselves an opportunity to score and they have some great hitters. We found our rhythm (in the first set) and took care of it.”
The second set turned into the Cailey Goulas show. With the set score at 9-3, Goulas took over the serve and found a rhythm with her jump floater. She rattled off 11 consecutive points to put Teurlings up 20-3. The Rebels won the set 25-4 and Hebert said it was good to see Goulas get her confidence back.
“She struggled this year with confidence when she’s not on,” Hebert said. “She hasn’t really served that well all year. She has a great little jump floater that she hits, but there was something about tonight that she was able to put a little more zip on it. With each serve, she got a little more confident and the next serve was the result of that confidence.”
The third set was a bit of a struggle for Teurlings as Pearl River had a solid six-point stretch late to make it 17-14. Hebert called a timeout and said his team had gotten too complacent and made too many mistakes, something they’ve struggled with at times this season.
“We had a couple times where we beat teams, but we weren’t happy with our performance because of stuff like that,” Hebert said. “I told them that may come back to haunt us if we don’t fix it in practice. We let off the throttle a little bit, but sometimes, you have to battle through the ebbs and flows of a match. Volleyball is a lot about momentum and they had it right there.”
Teurlings closed the set out with an 8-2 run and ended the match on an explosive kill by Madison Proctor. Hebert said his focus in practice before the quarterfinals at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner will be intense. If his young players can maintain their composure, Hebert said they have a real chance to repeat as state champions.
“I don’t know if I could have said that back in September,” Hebert said. “We had question marks at a lot of positions because we were so young and it took us a few weeks to iron out the kinks. We ended up where we have a little more offensive weapons than last year and the teams we meet, we’ve seen already. We got a chance.”