Berwick will meet West Feliciana today
The Berwick Lady Panthers will begin postseason play today when they host West Feliciana today at 5 p.m.
The Lady Panthers (19-16) enter the contest as the No. 11 seed, while West Feliciana (12-14) is the No. 22 seed.
While Berwick coach Heather Blanchard said she didn’t know much about West Feliciana, she did say that they are a young team.
“They’re always a really scrappy team, and they don’t let any balls hit the floor,” she said.
Both teams have one opponent in common, Brusly, who both teams fell to, although the Lady Panthers didn’t have senior standout and University of Louisiana at Lafayette commit Brie Hill available for the matchup due to an injury.
As for what her team must do in the match, Blanchard said they need to “keep our serve and eliminate our mistakes.”
Berwick comes into the playoffs battle tested as they have faced two of the top teams in their division twice in district play in No. 2 seed E.D. White and No. 4 seed Lutcher as well as No. 1 seed Teurlings Catholic and other quality opponents in other divisions.
“I think our schedule’s prepared us for this,” Blanchard said. “We played a lot of the top teams in the state. We’ve seen a lot of the top teams in the division, which gives us a little confidence. It lets the girls know that we can compete and hopefully in the end we’ll be successful.”
Although the Lady Panthers feature University of Louisiana at Lafayette commitment Brie Hill as the centerpiece of their offense, the squad has had other options this year that have helped them.
“The other girls have grown as the season’s gone,” Blanchard said. “I got Maddie Gray on the outside as a senior. She’s improved tremendously, and Abigail Askew’s really come into her own this year, and then I’ve added McKenzie Baumgartner in the front row and even Diana Grace (Guarisco) she’s never played front row. She started playing front row this year. She’s more of a role player. She knows what her role is, and Ashton Morales, I have her hitting (in) one that rotation and she’s come through big.”
While Morales is a setter for the Lady Panthers and has excelled at the position, Blanchard said Morales is strictly a hitter when she competes in club ball.
“She’s actually a hitter that can set,” Blanchard said.
Defensively, the Lady Panthers have excelled this season too as they have had several games in which they have recorded 60 or more digs.
“We emphasize defense,” Blanchard said. “You can’t have anything without a pass. That’s what I tell the girls. It all starts with a pass. So once we get the pass, our offense can work. We spend (the) majority of our time on defense because that is the key. If you can’t get up what the other team’s giving to you, then you’re not going to have a chance.”
Although the Lady Panthers still must take care of business today and in the second round, the squad realizes they are near a goal of reaching the state tournament at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
“It’s in view, and the girls know it’s in view,” Blanchard said. “That’s one of the big goals that they’ve been talking about, but they also know that we’ve got to take it one game at a time, one serve at a time one ball (at a time). Everything counts at this time. It’s one (loss) and done.”