The Central Catholic High School volleyball team is, front row from left, assistant coaches Mary Thomas and Sydney Lerille, Principal Vic Bonnaffee and head coach Latashia Wise. On the middle row are Rachel Rogers, Katie Luc, Jolie Boudreaux, Emily Wise, Hailey Skiles, Rayne Hotard, Katie Hoffpauir, Madison Landry, Symone Wiggins and Emma Simmons. Standing, are manager Caitlyn Picou, Lexi Landry, Sarah David, Terre'yan Johnson, Ava Nicar, Caroline Green, Kennedy Grizzaffi, Sydney Williams and manager Emily Price. Not pictured is manager Elise Hidalgo. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Misti & Co. Photography)
CCHS Lady Eagles looking for more in 2018
Central Catholic High School volleyball coach Latashia Wise said she “is getting a little anxious” as she enters her sixth season at the helm of the Morgan City-based school.
Her anxiousness stems from an inability to make the Division V finals. Her team has made trips to the Pontchartrain Center in four of her five years at Central Catholic but has advanced no further than the semifinals.
While she knows her team is fortunate to make trips to the state tournament, she said it is a lot of hard work, too, to come up short.
“It’s with anything when you’ve been working towards something and you get closer and closer and closer and the monotony of it gets to be a little frustrating,” Wise said.
Now, for Wise, it’s a feeling of anxiousness setting in and the community sensing it’s time for the program to take that next step.
Despite the state tournament roadblock for the squad, Wise said she doesn’t want her team to feel the pressure. She’ll handle those expectations.
“I want them to perform to the best of their abilities and get back to the Pontchartrain Center, because it is the culture of our volleyball program to get there but not just get there but to make some noise once we get there,” she said.
A year ago, Central Catholic (32-12) fell in the state semifinals to eventual Division V state champion Metairie Park Country Day. While the Lady Eagles were swept in three sets, it was three close sets, falling 25-22, 25-23, 25-22.
“No matter how you look at it, you still got an ‘L’ in there, and you still don’t make it to the finals, but it was a different feeling,” Wise said. “It was a different feeling for me. It was a different feeling for them, because it was three very close sets. … That’s an indication alone that we’re getting closer and closer, so we’re hoping this year that we can have a different outcome just like every year.”
Central Catholic returns some valuable pieces of its 2017 season, highlighted by junior middle blocker Terre'yan Johnson, who was named the District 6-V Offensive Most Valuable Player.
Other front-row options for the Lady Eagles are senior Bailee Lipari, a first-team all-district outside hitter a season ago, senior middle blocker Caroline Green, a second-team all-district pick in 2017, and outside hitter Ava Nicar and right side hitter Sydney Williams, both honorable mention all-district picks last year. Junior Lexi Landry also is expected to contribute in the Lady Eagles’ front row.
While the Lady Eagles lost one of their setters, Taylor Picou, to graduation, the team does return junior setter Katie Hoffpauir, who was a first-team all-district setter a season ago. Hoffpauir has played varsity for the Lady Eagles since the seventh grade.
Defensively, the Lady Eagles must replace libero Quincee Wiggins, the district’s Defensive Most Valuable Player, who graduated. However, the Lady Eagles return Brooke Lipari, who once played libero and is a former district Defensive MVP. Lipari was a second-team all-district pick as a defensive specialist in 2017.
“I think she’ll offer us some good quality at that position,” Wise said of Lipari.
Wise said she has other defensive players, such as junior Emma Simmons, who saw time a year ago, who can contribute this season defensively.
The bulk of the Lady Eagles’ 14-player varsity roster is upperclassmen, with eight of those juniors.
“My junior class is my big class, and they’re very talented as a whole,” Wise said.
Wise also mentioned sophomores Kennedy Grizzaffi and Katie Luc as two players who could help the squad this season.
Central Catholic will play its traditional tough schedule, which features six state tournament teams from 2017, including one state champion.
The Lady Eagles open the season at home against defending Division III state champion Vandebilt Catholic Aug. 29, while on Sept. 11, the squad hosts Division V state semifinalist Ascension Episcopal. Other highlights of the schedule are a Sept. 20 home match against 2017 Division II quarterfinalist South Lafourche, a Sept. 22 away match against 2017 Division V quarterfinalist Catholic-Pointe Coupee, an Oct. 4 home match against Division III quarterfinalist E.D. White and an Oct. 11 away match against Division V quarterfinalist St. John.
Central Catholic will compete in District 6-V play against Covenant Christian, West St. John and Houma Christian.
In addition to its own tournament, Central Catholic will participate in tournaments hosted by Assumption, Brusly, Archbishop Hannan and Terrebonne High schools.
Central Catholic will continue its preseason preparations Thursday when it travels to face Vandebilt Catholic in a scrimmage, while Monday it will serve as the host team for a Hall of Fame event at the Wellness Center of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. Central Catholic will meet St. Amant at 4 p.m. The Lady Eagles’ final preparations will be Aug. 23 in the Morgan City High School Jamboree.