Four area teams vying for state volleyball titles

By By Troy LaFleur / American Press

Forty volleyball teams from throughout Louisiana will converge on the Ponchartrain Center in Kenner and will continue their

quests today at becoming state champions.

Four of those teams represent Southwest Louisiana in the top three divisions.

In Division I the Barbe Bucs are the lone local team that didn’t receive a first-round bye to make it to the state tournament.

They reached Kenner thanks to a straight-sets victory over district rival Comeaux in the second round.

“The biggest thing about the Comeaux game was that our girls were really excited because it was a rubber match,” said Barbe

head coach Jeremy White. “We came out very strong from the beginning and really brought it.”

The Bucs are led by Courtney LaFargue, Peyton Montgomery and Ebony Lewis and will look to parlay their strong playoff run

into something special.

“We are peaking at the right time,” White said. “The big thing for us is that we have some strong kids in the middle, good

ball control and a four-year starter at setter, so right now we just need to make sure that we are prepared mentally.”

Barbe will start the tournament against No. 2 Mount Carmel in the quarterfinals tonight. The winner will play H.L. Bourgeois

or Archbishop Chapelle in the semifinals on Friday.

“We have to be hungry,” White said. “Last year we stepped into the state tournament on the timid side, so this year, if they

can keep their hunger to win, we should be good. Right now you aren’t going to improve much with practice, it is all about

who is more mentally prepared.”

In Division II the Sam Houston Broncos will look to ride the momentum of their five-set nail-biter victory over Assumption.

“That win was huge, especially being

the qualifying match for state tournament, and our seniors haven’t been

there since they

were freshmen,” said Sam Houston head coach René Fontenot. “It was

important to have the higher seed and home-court advantage

because Assumption is such a good team.”

The Broncos will play tonight against No. 2 Lakeshore. The winner will meet the Breaux Bridge-Vandebilt Catholic winner in

Friday’s semifinals.

“We need to do the little things well

to enable the big plays,” Fontenot said. “This is a game of errors and

you don’t have

to have the best hitters, you just have to have a lot of ball

control. We are healthy for the first time in three weeks and

hopefully we can put it all together now.”

Southwest Louisiana has two representatives — St. Louis and Iota — in Division III.

The Saints finished Berwick in straight sets on Monday and now turn their focus to perennial state contender Ursuline in the

quarterfinals. Parkview Baptist or E.D. White await the winner on Friday.

The Bulldogs owned Southwest

Louisiana’s highest seed entering the playoffs and made quick work of

North Vermilion on Monday.

They will meet Lutcher today in the quarterfinals. The winner will

face Teurlings Catholic or Rayne in Friday’s semifinals.