The St. Thomas More Lady Cougars aren’t the least bit interested in focusing on what they’ve accomplished in the past two years on the volleyball court, even if the previous two seasons includes a state championship and state runner-up finish.
Because the 2012 Lady Cougars are focused more on making a name for themselves instead of attempting to live up to lofty accomplishments achieved by past STM teams.
“This is a new team than the teams we’ve had in the past,” Lady Cougars head coach Jessica Burke said. “We have many new starters this year and although they watched what the other teams did, they want to make this season their own. They know that they are part of a program, but they want to be remembered for what they do.”
Lady Cougars junior outside hitter Kali Calkins agreed with Burke and stated this year’s team wants to leave their own legacy.
“This year has been a good opportunity for us to kind of restart,” Calkins said. “We know that we’re a different team and that we don’t depend on one or two players. We know that we need everyone on the team to do their part.”
The No. 1 seeded Lady Cougars will take the floor today at 3:15 p.m. against Belle Chasse on Court 2 at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner in hope of beginning their legacy.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure,” Burke said. “I don’t think anyone can put higher expectations on me than I put on myself. I expect to win state every year, so the expectations don’t get any higher than that.”
The Lady Cougars believe the key to success for them will be playing strong defense and passing well.
“For us, it’s going to come down to how well we pass and how well we play defense,” Burke said. “When we pass well, we score. When we defend well, we score. If we do those things, play with heart and go out and fight for every point, it’ll be ours to take.”
The Breaux Bridge Lady Tigers are in the midst of the most successful volleyball season record wise, but head coach Laurie Simon hopes there is more to come when they arrive at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner for the state volleyball tournament today.
“To my knowledge, I believe we have made it to the semifinals twice in the history of our program,” Simon said. “I definitely believe we have enough talent do it again this year. We have had a great year and we’re ranked No. 3 in the state. When you get to this point in the season, anything can happen.”
The Lady Tigers, who have won 31 matches so far this season which is the most in school history, will need to focus on limiting the level of frustration they get once they make a mistake if they are going to avoid beating themselves.
“I have some academically strong kids and I think they’ve put pressure on themselves in a sense to be perfect,” Simon said. “That’s been our biggest downfall this year. When we make one mistake or two mistakes, it turns into five, six and seven mistakes in a row because they are so hard on themselves.”
Breaux Bridge will face Assumption today at 5 p.m. on Court 1 with the winner advancing to the Division II semifinals. If successful, the Lady Tigers could potentially meet parish rival St. Martinville in the semifinals with a state finals berth on the line.
“I don’t think I have to worry about our team looking ahead,” Simon said. “I say that because the group of kids I have they haven’t played in New Orleans before. We’re going to be a little nervous being in that building, so I don’t expect us to overlook anyone.”
The St. Martinville Lady Tigers’ volleyball team are healthy, well-rested and playing arguably the best volleyball they’ve played all season.
Now head coach Lucinda Mason and the Lady Tigers hope they continue to play that way at the state volleyball tournament beginning today at 11:45 a.m. when they face Lutcher in the Division II quarterfinals.
“I think we’re all ready to go,” Mason said. “This is the second time that we’ve been to New Orleans, so I’m confident we’re ready. I don’t really have any concerns besides that I don’t really know much about the team we’re playing. But in the end, we still have to go out and do what we do.”
What the Lady Tigers won’t do according to Mason is look ahead to what might be in terms of a semifinals matchup against parish-rival Breaux Bridge.
“I’m not worried about that at all,” Mason said. “I expect for us to play one match at a time. We’re going to play the quarterfinal match and take it from there.”