Yusra Chabayta ’18
The Lady Panthers volleyball team hosted “The Rumble in the Jungle” tournament on Friday, September 23rd at Woodlawn High School; matches started at 4:00pm, with new games beginning every 50 minutes until 8:10pm, when the last games of the night began. They continued playing matches on Saturday, September 24th, with games beginning at 8:00am. Bracket play began Saturday at 2:00 pm, with the Championship Game beginning at 7:20 pm. Games were played both days on three courts at Woodlawn High and another court at Woodlawn Middle.
Hannah Luker and Kennedi Barnes attempt a block during the Tara Tournament.
When asked before the tournament if the players were ready and excited about the tournament, Hannah Luker said, “Of course we are excited, but our tournaments are always a tough competition and allow us to challenge ourselves.”
Twenty-five teams from across Louisiana participated in the tournament. Each team was placed in a pool which contained five teams each. Teams played all of the teams in their pool and received points according to how many games they won. Once the pool games were over, the top fifteen teams from the five pools were seeded and bracket play began. The winner of The Rumble in the Jungle was determined by these games.
Woodlawn was placed in a pool with Byrd, Loranger, McDonogh 35, and St. James. The Lady Panthers finished their pool with a 3-1 record. Their first game versus Loranger was their only loss in pool play (23-25, 18-25). Woodlawn then defeated Byrd (25-22, 25-10), McDonogh 35 (25-3, 25-11), and St. James (25-18, 25-20). Winning three out of four games was enough to place Woodlawn High School as the second place team in their pool. The Lady Panthers were seeded seventh overall going into bracket play.
In bracket play, Woodlawn defeated West Feliciana in a hard fought contest by the score of 25-23 and 27-25, before falling in the second round to eventual tournament runner-up Ben Franklin. Fontainebleau High School finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record and walked away with the championship.
The Lady Panthers volleyball team was back in action twice during the week of September 12th. The Lady Panthers were able to achieve a 1-1 record during the week. On Monday, Woodlawn was scheduled to travel to Southern Lab, but due to scheduling conflicts, the game was moved to Woodlawn. The Lady Panthers took full advantage of the move to familiar turf, defeating Southern Lab by the score of three sets to zero.
After two days of practice, Woodlawn traveled to Zachary on Thursday for a match up with the Broncos. The Lady Panthers were not able to come up with the victory, as they fell to host Zachary one set to three.
Senior Kerri Williams led the Lady Panthers to a 1-1 record this week.
Senior Kerri Williams led the Lady Panthers with a great week. Williams recorded 27 kills, 16 assists, 8 digs, and 3 aces in the two matches. Senior Maya Johnson led the team with 25 assists during the week, and junior Kennedi Barnes led Woodlawn with 6 blocks.
The Lady Panthers return to action this weekend in the 2016 Tara Volleyball Classic. Woodlawn has been placed in Pool 4 along with Baker, Madison Prep, and Scotlandville. The Lady Panthers open the tournament Friday at 3:30 pm vs. Madison Prep on Court 2. On Saturday, Woodlawn will face Scotlandville at 8:45 am and Baker at 11:45 am, both on Court 2, before moving to play-offs at 2 pm.
After a good showing in the South Louisiana Invitational this weekend (2-2), the volleyball team dropped two in row this week.
On Wednesday, the Lady Panthers went five sets in a hard fought match against False River Academy. The Panthers won the first set, but lost the second. They fought back from 23-17 to win the third set 29-27. The Lady Panthers lost steam after winning a hard fought fourth set. False River finished off the match with a strong finish in the fifth.
On Thursday, the Lady Panthers squared off with Baton Rouge High. The Lady Panthers looked strong with a tremendous offensive effort by Kerri Williams who had 8 kills, four aces, along with a block, but it was not enough to overtake the strong offensive effort by the Bulldogs.
The Lady Panthers will see action this Monday at Southern Lab.
Head Coach Malpica says that he is excited about the upcoming volleyball season. The Lady Panthers will look to build upon last season, which saw the team make it to the second round of the playoffs. The girls finished with a 21-17 record in 2015.
“We have two senior leaders, Kerri Williams and Myah Johnson, that come back with lots of experience. We will look for them to lead us back to the playoffs this year,” says Malpica. “We also have two underclassmen that are returning from our playoff run last year.”
Coach Malpica is clearly relying on the two seniors, Kerri and Myah, the most. Kerri will contribute from her outside hitter position, while Myah returns as the team’s setter.
“Kerri is our best all-around player. She is our best offensive and defensive player. She is very quick defensively and very powerful offensively. Myah is the quarterback of our team. We are counting on her to lead the offense and help us to score points,” says Coach Malpica.
“We have two juniors returning with two years experience playing varsity volleyball,” adds Coach Malpica. “Kennedi Barnes and Hannah Luker will help compliment our two returning seniors. Kennedi is our big middle blocker. We expect her to step up this year and lead us defensively. Hannah is one of our outside hitters, and we expect a lot from her this year also. Hannah has a lot of experience from playing club volleyball the last three or four years.”
Coach Malpica was also quick to speak about two new starters that have stepped up during early practices.
“Mercedes Pickens is a junior who is going to play outside hitter for us. She has done well through the first few practices and we look for her to contribute. Kyra Britton is an incoming freshman who we expect to start from day one. She will play middle blocker for us this season.”
With the recent flooding of our community, the Lady Panthers have had to reorganize their schedule. The girls have had to cancel all of their scrimmages that were scheduled, along with cancelling practices. Woodlawn will look to begin practice again on Monday, August 22nd at 2:30 pm. The Lady Panthers will then travel to Brusly on Tuesday for their Jamboree.