Central Catholic is tired of coming home empty-handed from the Division V state tournament at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
They’re even more tired of losing to Division V power Episcopal School of Acadiana, who has knocked the Lady Eagles from the playoffs in the semifinals in 2010 and 2011.
With every starter returning from 2011 and a roster of 16 (no freshmen included), getting to the semifinals isn’t good enough for this year’s squad, CCHS coach Kindra Halverson said.
“We’ve grown a lot since last year,” Halverson said. “Everyone’s a year older. They’ve all been playing together since seventh, eighth grade so we have a core group of starters coming back. Everybody’s experienced (with the) playoffs, experienced (with) big games so we’re really excited to get there again and hopefully this time it’ll be our time.”
So far, the Lady Eagles have recorded a 4-3 record. This past weekend, the squad finished as runner-up to defending Class 5A champion Fontainbleau in Division Gray at the H.L. Bourgeois Tournament.
Today, the squad will continue its season against, who else, but Episcopal School of Acadiana with junior varsity action beginning at 4:30 p.m. and varsity following at 5:30 p.m.
Besides the fact that it is a rematch of last year’s Division V state semifinals, the game will be the first varsity contest the volleyball team will play in its new Competitive Gym, which has been constructed within the past year.
As for today’s opponent, Halverson said her squad played them a lot at ESA’s summer camp.
Because she has such an experienced squad, Halverson said this year she and her staff can work on finer details of volleyball as opposed to basic fundamentals.
While the squad has the formula to reach the postseason, with appearances each year since 2009, Halverson has her squad focused more on ball control.
“We’ve been working on that, harping on that every single day,” she said. “The first hour of practice is all ball control drills and that’s different from the past. We’ve focused more on offense in the past and this year is more defense, ball control, serving, so hopefully that’ll get us in the right way. We have the big hitters. They’re not going anywhere. They’re all a group of juniors, so we’ll still have them but we do need the ball control.”
Halverson said that this year’s squad has the best chemistry that she has seen in her time at CCHS.
As for the preparation for a potential postseason run, the CCHS coach has put together a brutal preseason schedule that, in addition to ESA, also features trips to Dominican (2011 Division 1 semifinalist), Notre Dame (Division 4 state champion), St. Thomas More (Division 2 state finalist), E.D. White (Division 3 quarterfinalist) as well as the ESA Tournament and Country Day Tournament. The Lady Eagles were supposed to play Mount Carmel (Division 1 runner up) and Assumption (Division 2 semifinalist) but those two matchups were not played due to Hurricane Isaac.