It was pretty obvious from the opening serve which way Thursday’s District 5-I volleyball match between River Parishes rivals Hahnville and Destrehan was going to go. But that’s not to say that there weren’t a few surprises.
Destrehan overcame a slow start to give the Tigers a solid match, but could not overcome the Tigers who took a three-game sweep in their district opener. This year, Hahnville (7-7, 1-0) is just the more experienced squad. Kylie Roux put down 13 kills to pace the Tigers to a 25-17, 25-17, 25-12. Bailee Kaplan had three digs, two blocks and three aces. Marissa Bergeron had 26 assists.
Destrehan, whose 2013 regional team was decimated by graduation and, more recently by key injuries, struggled to stay with the Tigers early. In fact they have struggled this season.
Young and rebuilding, the Wildcats fell to 1-9, 0-2.
Destrehan also fell behind early Thursday, digging a 9-1 hole before putting together a nice rally. Destrehan never was able to catch Hahnville in the first match, but did manage to make a game of it.
Paiton Anderson had several solid blocks at the net to help the Wildcats battle back. Johnesha Vinnett led the Wildcats with eight kills and three aces. Kayla Flora had 16 assists. Jessica DeAlmiana had 13 digs.
Destrehan kept its momentum going into the second match, forcing ties at 1, 4, 6 and 9. But after that, a flurry of errors took the Wildcats back out of the game.
Hahnville shut it down in the deciding match. After a final tie at 7, the Tigers got solid kills from Stephanie Oubre and Kaplan, a pair of aces from Bergeron. Roux continued her play with a block to put Hahnville ahead 22-10 and a kill to give the Tigers match point.
“We were really pumped up to play them,” Roux said. “Like, on the bus, we were cheering. We were happy. We haven’t really had that good a start, but we were excited to play them.”
And when Destrehan rallied from its early deficit, Roux said the Tigers didn’t panic.
“When teams fight back like that, you’ve just got to play through it,” she said. “They did come back a little bit.”
Tigers coach Mendi LeBoeuf said her team has gotten off to a rocky start.
“We’ve been a little up and down, playing a little inconsistent at times,” LeBoeuf said. “We’ve had a few injuries. But we’re real pleased with this performance. I thought we started well and stayed engaged the whole game. We kept our cool and kept going after balls. That’s a real positive for us.”
Destrehan coach Alexis Keller said she saw Thursday’s game as a positive as well. Playing without setter Emily Richardson and her sister, starting libero Abby Richardson, Keller had several new faces in new places.
“The girls and I talked about it, how sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but today we feel like we won,” Keller said. “We had people playing in positions that they don’t usually play. They stuck out, but I couldn’t ask for better from them. Our record doesn’t exactly show how awesome we’ve played. We’ve had games that we haven’t played that well. But tonight, even though it’s a loss, we’re happy.”