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Three local teams gear for district volleyball action

Staff Report

The season is only two weeks old, but attention is now on district action for three local volleyball teams.

St. John brings the most experienced team to the court, but East Iberville has the potential to make strides this season and White Castle’s young talent could help the Lady Bulldogs move from and up-and-coming team to a district contender.

Here’s what the three programs – all in the same district – will bring to the court this season.

The St. John Lady Eagles celebrate during action last season against Ascension Catholic. SJHS hopes to reap benefits of an experienced 2020 squad.

ST. JOHN

A strong group of seniors gives coach Caitlin Hester high hopes about the direction of the Lady Eagle season.

Aside from experience, all are capable of making a big impact in all key roles on the court, she said.

Setter Katie Blanchard will figure as a solid all-around player, while Dannie Durand has racked up kills during her final season.

“Katie is an all-around great player to watch … she’s our glue that keeps things rolling and a great leader,” Hester said. “I expect Deannie to continue her trend and to see some great plays made by her all season long. She’s an all-around playmaker for us.”

Emma Hargrove and Hallie Rivet will also figure prominently in the Lady Eagle arsenal.

“Emma, my other middle hitter is a weapon on both the front and the back row, and she’s a hard worker on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball,” Hester said. “Hallie, my outside hitter. She’s playing a different position this year as she was a middle last year but has stepped in and not missed a beat, hard hitter, smart hitter and can read a defense very well.”

Libero Anna Catherine Caballero will figure as an outstanding defensive leader for the Lady Eagles, according to Hester.

“She’s going on her second year in the position she’s a great defensive leader, and she is known to set up a few offensive plays of her own to contribute on the offensive side as well,” she said. “Anna Catherine is a very vocal leader, and a very, very hard worker.”

The Lady Eagles cross paths with East Iberville in the district opener tonight (Thursday)

East Iberville coach Doug Schultz says his team is progressing despite challenges.

EAST IBERVILLE

The Lady Tigers opened to a 2-0 start and will face action this week against St. John on Thursday at 5 p.m.

EIHS brings four seniors to the court – Martique Reddig, Shakira Alexander, Destiny Riley and Dedreka Riley, who was a Class 1A All-State entry for the girls basketball team last season.

The Lady Tigers continue to make progress, even though they have had to endure the same limitations as every other school, coach Doug Schultz said.

“The girls are practicing hard, but there has not been much of chance to practice because most are going through virtual classes, so we’re practicing just once or twice a week, and that’s been really difficult,” Schultz said. “There was not much of chance for summer practices, but we’re working our way through it.”

Senior Kayona Landry will figure prominently in the mix as a leader and the voice of this year’s team.

WHITE CASTLE

Second-year coach Lanesha Taylor is hoping experience will help her Lady Bulldogs get over the hump this season.

White Castle has yet to see a victory in its first three games, but Taylor already sees the improvement among her players.

“Last year, it was everyone’s first time touching a volleyball in a competitive nature, but this year we have more game experience, we’re learning and putting stuff together,” she said.

Taylor sees a lot of potential in eighth grader Casia Black, as well as freshman Jayala Dorsey.

She also has high expectations for senior Ashante Foster, who she says may be a good role model for the younger players.

“She’s very acclimated in that role, has to be part of every play, has to lead and has a lot on her shoulders,” Taylor said. “She shows up every day, she’s dedicated with what she’s doing, and proud of what she’s doing.”

Taylor has also been impressed with freshman Jayla Singleton, who has shown great potential and had a solid game against Baker last week.

Senior Kayona Landry will also figure prominently in the mix as a leader and the voice of this year’s team, Taylor said.

“This year’s team is making great strides,” Taylor said. We have to keep up the hard work, and success will come our way.”