MCHS looking to replace starters from 2013 team
The Morgan City volleyball varsity and junior varsity volleyball team consists of, seated, from left, Emily Boudreaux, Hannah Gros, Katelyn Gautreaux, Kaitlyn Gros and Brandi Albarado. Kneeling, from left, are Kennedy Hebert, Paige Loftin, Faith Crappell, Abby Reynaud, Twanna LeBeau and Alllie Vincent. Standing, from left, are Cecily Feliciano, Karley Guidry, Brandi Ingram, Jaiveianna Jones, Alexandra Thompson and Dwanna LeBeau. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Wade Gussman Photography)
Morgan City High School freshmen team members include, kneeling, Matti Rivere, left, and Alisha Singleton. Standing, from left, are Scottie Metrejean, Alaysia Williams, Gabrielle Guarisco, Hailey Lewis, Anamarie Domino and Abigail Landry. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Wade Gussman Photography)
The Morgan City Lady Tigers will be going through a rebuilding phase this year as the squad must replace five of their six starters from a year ago.
Despite the challenges facing the team as they return just senior Jaiveianna Jones from a year ago and others who saw action at times, head coach Christy Theriot said recently that the team’s leadership and enthusiasm were good and communication was better than a year ago.
She said her team works hard and does not give up.
“At least if they’re going to go down, they’re going to go down hard,” Theriot said. “They’re gonna fight. What I’ve seen in practice so far, they’re going to make teams beat’em.”
The Lady Tigers will be looking to improve upon their 13-26 mark a year ago. While the Lady Tigers advanced to the second round of the playoffs, falling to eventual state champion Teurlings Catholic in the Division 3 playoffs, Theriot said at times a year ago Morgan City didn’t play up to its potential.
“I think, just like last year, I think we’re going to be our own worst enemy,” Theriot said.
However, she said she thought this year’s team would be more consistent.
The Lady Tigers’ top returning offensive threat from a year ago will be Jones, a force for the Lady Tigers in 2013 on the front row who will return to her middle blocker position. She was a first-team all-district selection in 2013.
“She has a lot more positive attitude this year than she’s had in the past, so I think that’ll be a good factor,” Theriot said.
Additionally, another senior returning that had experience from a year ago is Brandi Ingram.
However, Ingram will be replace Savannah Loupe, who graduated a year ago, as the team’s libero this year. A year ago, Ingram played outside hitter.
“She’s done a good job,” Theriot said of Ingram. “Her passing’s improving. She reads the court. She reads the hitter very well. She’s probably the one that reads tip and hit and angles a lot better than anybody.”
In addition to Loupe, the team must replace, due to graduation, two setters from a year ago, Layne Reynaud and secondary setter and right side hitter Taylor Prince and outside hitters Kloe Liner and Marilynn Bailey.
A year ago, Liner was a second-team all-district selection.
Theriot said consistent setting would be one of the team’s biggest challenges this season.
Juniors Karley Guidry and Cecily Feliciano are working at the position for the Lady Tigers, which also will be run with a right side hitter in the Lady Tigers’ offense that either one will fill when the other is setting.
“It’s just a matter of getting their touches on the ball consistent, getting them a lot of touches on the ball,” Theriot said.
Another setter for Morgan City on varsity is freshman Allie Vincent.
“She’s got pretty good hands,” Theriot said. “She just got to get the mental aspect. (It’s) a much faster pace than junior high.”
Another aspect of the Lady Tigers this year, will be good passing.
“We’ve been really focusing on passing,” Theriot said.
In addition to Jones, Theriot also was looking at freshman Kennedy Hebert at middle hitter for the Lady Tigers.
“She has great instincts,” Theriot said. “If she gets blocked, she gets her hand on everything. She’s pretty good. … She needs a little work on her footwork with her approach, but other than that, she passes well, she consistently serves, she talks.”
Sophomore Paige Loftin also will be in the mix for playing time at middle hitter on varsity.
At outside hitters, the Lady Tigers’ feature juniors Dwanna LeBeau and Alex Thompson.
“Both need to work on consistency, footwork and all, which will come,” Theriot said.
In addition to Ingram on defense, the Lady Tigers may turn to some sophomores, Theriot said, naming specifically Brandi Alborado, Katelyn Gautreaux and Kaitlyn Gros, who she said all had been passing well in preseason.
“They’re stepping up a little bit,” Theriot said.
The Lady Tigers’ nondistrict schedule features multiple Division 1 schools, including Hahnville, who the Lady Tigers will open the season with at home today.
Morgan City also will face Division 2 opponents Assumption and Landry Walker in preseason action.
As for league play, the Lady Tigers will compete in District 6-III with E.D. White, Lutcher, Berwick, Patterson and Donaldsonville.
A year ago, E.D. White fell in the Division III state finals, while Lutcher advanced to the state semifinals. Berwick also advanced to the second round of the postseason.
“I would predict Lutcher’s probably the team to beat,” Theriot said. “I think E.D. White’s still going to be strong. Patterson, I think was definitely stronger than they had been in the past, so I think everybody’s going to be up this year. … Berwick lost Brie (Hill), but you don’t underestimate anybody.”