Newly appointed head volleyball coach for St. John Mike Van Lieu hopes to use his six years of coaching experience to lift the Lady Eagles to a deep postseason run in late 2016.
This will not come easily, however, as the Lady Eagles lost two talented seniors to graduation last year, Madison Schnebelen and standout Payton Passantino.
This is Van Lieu’s third year coaching at the high school level. He also spent two years coaching club volleyball at Capitol City Volleyball.
Last season he served as assistant coach at Baton Rouge Magnet High and as the JV and freshman head coach.
Coach Van Lieu spent the better part of the 2016 offseason with the young Lady Eagles working on fundamentals in preparation for the upcoming season.
“The summer practices were fantastic,” Van Lieu said. “I came into a situation that has good senior leadership, so the girls worked hard. The competition camps gave us the opportunity to compete against a lot of really good teams and the girls responded better than I expected. I was really impressed with the progress they made.”
The 2015-16 campaign ended last year in the regional playoffs for St. John. They received the 13 seed and defeated 20 seed Delcambre three sets to one in round one. They advanced to face district rival Ascension Catholic in regionals and were swept to close out their postseason.
Good news for Van Lieu and the Lady Eagles, however, is the team is stacked with talent. Standout middle hitter Carolyne Glaser will bring her intensity to the court, something the rest of the team feeds off of according to Van Lieu.
Robbi Seneca will also make a return to the court as setter. “She has all the qualities you want in a good setter,” Van Lieu said. “She has leadership, maturity, quickness, ability to read a defense, and she can set to just about anyone from anywhere on the court.”
Joining Seneca and Glaser is Grace Robichaux at outside hitter. “She is one of the hardest hitting players I’ve seen,” coach said. “When she is on, she is unstoppable.”
Other players to look out for this season include: Sarah Caballero at libero; Monica Rivet at outside hitter; Grace Acosta at middle hitter and defensive specialists Hannah Alexander and Taylor Vince.