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Lady Tigers advance to regionals for first time

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

KENNER – Hahnville advanced to the regional round of the LHSAA state volleyball tournament for the first time in school history before being eliminated by Thibodaux, 15-8, 15-4, Thursday afternoon at the Pontchartrain Center.

Hahnville, the Division 8-I runners-up with a 9-18 record, had advanced to the regionals for the first time in four tries with a 15-12, 15-9 victory over Abramson Wednesday morning in the bi-district playoffs.

Thibodaux, the District 7-I champions with a 32-9 record, moved on to play the winner of the West Jefferson-Archbishop Chapelle game Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals.

Thibodaux kept Hahnville from getting into its offense with its serving, surging to a 9-1 lead on aces by Angie Johnson, Melissa Ellis and Jenny LaGarde and a kill by Sartaria White. Hahnville rallied to within six behindconsecutive aces by Latoya Woods, but Thibodaux pulled back ahead, 12-3, on a block and dink by Rasheka Thomas and a lift on Hahnville.

Hahnville again rallied behind the serving of Fallon Cancienne, using a kill by Colleen Lockhart, a tip by Liz Landry and two Thibodaux errors to cut the deficit to 12-8. But two serves later, Thibodaux got to game point onan ace by Johnson and a net violation on Hahnville. Simone Harris then hita spike that bounced off the net and fell in for the game winner.

Thibodaux kept it up on its first serve of the second game as an ace by Renee Tauzin and three Hahnville errors built a 4-0 lead. That lead wouldgrow to 10-1 on a kill by White and a block by Kelcie Thomas. Hahnvillepulled to within 13-4 on a kill by Lockhart and a Thibodaux error, but a kill by Thomas and a lift call on Hahnville would give Thibodaux the match winner.

Ellis had three assists for Thibodaux while White had eight kills. Harrisand Rasheka Thomas led the defense with 14 digs and eight blocks, respectively. Tauzin paced the offense with a game-high 26 assists. Keanna Bethencourt had six digs and six assists. Lockhart added five kills,while Woods contributed two aces and Landry two blocks.

“Thibodaux had several weapons,” Hahnville coach Mendi LeBoeuf said.

“They forced us to play a lot of defense.”LeBoeuf said the loss did not diminish the season the team had.

“We are really excited,” LeBoeuf said. “This is our fourth year in a row tobe here and we are excited about our first win. It is just something to pickup on and look forward to next year.”That first win came against the District 10-I champion Abramson (8-14) Wednesday. The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first game ontwo kills by Jackie Witmer and an ace by Woods. Abramson rallied to tiethe game at 7 behind an ace by Sha Mara Sneed and a kill by Sonte Wiley.

Hahnville bounced back, using a kill of a free ball by Landry and three Abramson errors to surge ahead 11-8. A kill by Cancienne made it 13-10before Abramson used a timeout. Abramson then cut the deficit to one on ablock by Sneed.

After each team broke the other’s serve twice, Witmer delivered a kill down the left baseline. Two serves later, Witmer added another kill forgame point.

Hahnville kept its momentum into the second game, using a spike by Lockhart, an ace by Witmer and six Abramson errors to take an 8-1 lead. Adink by Witmer, a block by Landry and an ace by Lockhart increased the lead to 12-4.

Abramson closed to within 12-7 on a kill and an ace by Wiley. But Woodscame back with an ace of her own to make it 13-7. A lift brought the LadyTigers to match point, and after Woods got the serve back with a cross court kill, a wide return by Abramson gave Hahnville the match.

Witmer led the way for the Lady Tigers with two aces, four digs and 11 kills. Landry added a block while Bethencourt paced the offense with 15assists.

Abramson was led by Wiley with seven kills and four blocks. Sneedcontributed seven digs and three aces while Kim Green had five aces.

“It feels great,” LeBoeuf said of the first playoff win. “I am real happy forthe kids because they have worked so hard.”

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