The Morgan City High School Lady Tiger volleyball
team is, seated from left, Hallie Blanchard, Jolee
Nini, Sh'Diamond Holly, Karmen Peterson, Nia Lightfoot
and McKenzi Smith. Kneeling, are Janaa Coulon,
Iesha Huntley, Layla Gros, Jamia Francois,
Deryon Johnson, Faith Bailey, Olivia Baio and Kamryn
Olivier. Standing, are Mariah Pleasant, Courtney
Long, Hailey Crappell, Brynn Stephens, Mary Vincent,
Hailey Aucoin and Bria Romero. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Wade Gussman Photography)

Six seniors leading MCHS volleyball program this season

A year after losing two seniors — although critical pieces of the squad — Morgan City High School’s 2018 volleyball team has six seniors to lead this year’s squad.
While the Lady Tigers lost first-team all-district middle hitter Kennedy Hebert and second-team libero Allie Vincent to graduation, the squad returns three all-district selections from a season ago, led by Sh’Diamond Holly, a first-team all-district middle hitter in 2017. Fellow seniors Jolee Nini (setter) and McKenzi Smith (defensive specialist) were honorable mention all-district selections a season ago.
Other seniors on this year’s squad are Hallie Blanchard, Nia Lightfoot and Karmen Peterson.
Morgan City High School Coach Christy Theriot said that senior class will make up the core of the team’s contributors this season.
A year ago, Morgan City finished its season with a 21-16 mark, falling to district foe E.D. White in the second round of the playoffs.
Theriot said this year’s squad, like the 2007 Lady Tiger team that finished as state runner-up, has a nucleus of players but need to develop chemistry.
“I think the chemistry is going to be the ongoing thing,” she said.
Theriot said “taking care of the small things’ and communication would be critical for her squad this season.
As for individual positions, Holly and Peterson will be the team’s middle hitters this season.
“They both played club ball and improved,” Theriot said.
Nini will be the team’s setter, while sophomore Mary Vincent may see some time at setter or maybe on defense.
Lightfoot, who missed the 2017 season with a knee injury, will play outside hitter or potentially right side hitter this season. Junior Jamia Francois will either play outside or right side, sophomore Haylie Crappell will play on the front row and Deryon Johnson was working at the right-side hitter spot during the preseason.
Defensively, Smith will be the team’s libero, while Blanchard also will see time as a defensive specialist.
Sophomore Brynn Stephens likely will see some playing time on defense, too.
Morgan City, which has started its season with a 4-2 mark and already has competed at Assumption’s tournament, also will play in tournaments hosted by Northeast High, Lutcher and Dunham.
Other nondistrict games of note are at South Terrebonne on Sept. 18 and Assumption on Sept. 20. South Terrebonne was a Division II quarterfinalist a season ago, while Assumption advanced to the Division II semifinals.
“Hopefully it’s tough enough to prepare us for district,” Theriot said of her schedule.
In district, the Lady Tigers will compete against Vandebilt Catholic, E.D. White and Berwick. Vandebilt Catholic won the Division III state championship a year ago, while E.D. White was a Division III quarterfinalist. Berwick also advanced to the Division III postseason.
“I think district, hopefully it’s going to be more open,” Theriot said.
While Theriot expects her district foes to be fundamentally sound, she said Morgan City has been its own “worst enemy” annually.
“If we can play to our potential consistently, play as a team, I think we’ll do well,” Theriot said.

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